Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin aerospace firm is rolling out the red carpet next week by starting to offer seats aboard its New Shepard suborbital spacecraft beginning May 5, but better crack open your piggy bank because it's not going to be cheap.
New Shepard is Blue Origin’s reusable rocket-capsule being engineered to shuttle passengers and scientific experiments on brief excursions into suborbital space. So far, their six-passenger capsule has only launched on 15 uncrewed test missions, with the latest jaunt occurring on April 14.
"Gradatim Ferociter" is Blue Origin's motto and is a Latin phrase which translates out to, "step by step, ferociously.”
The specific timeframe of May 5 has a particular resonance in history and the aerospace world as it will mark the 60th anniversary of American spaceflight. This was the same date that the company’s namesake, Alan Shepard, became the first American in space when he blasted off on a 15-minute suborbital Mercury mission in his Freedom 7 capsule.
Shepard missed being the first human into space by just a few weeks, as Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin earned that distinction by zipping into orbit on April 12, 1961.
Blue Origin has not presented the actual seat price for a ride on their fancy rocketship and those details will no doubt be delivered on May 5. But for some context, placeholders aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, a major player in the space tourism lottery, cost a hefty $250,000 — so it stands to reason the Blue Origin seats could be comparable to that.