If you want to go to space, Jeff Bezos might have a golden ticket for you coming very soon. The Amazon mogul’s private space company Blue Origin has announced that space tourists can expect to buy tickets for suborbital space flights starting in 2019. We don’t know how much, but they’re sure not going to be cheap - and that’s after the company confirms the system is safe by conducting passenger tests of their New Shepard launch system.
According to SpaceNews, Blue Origin Senior Vice President Rob Meyerson dropped this previously sci-fi reality on the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit. “We plan to start flying our first test passengers soon,” he said. “We expect to start selling tickets in 2019.” While ticketing may start in 2019, that doesn’t necessarily mean the flights will start that year.
There’s a history in the industry of complications - with space, you want to make sure you get everything right. So, like Virgin Galactic’s delay, Blue Origin could take ticket deposits from would-be fliers but still postpone until their capsule is testing to their satisfaction.
That test is a big question, since the six-passenger New Shepard capsule has yet to undergo a manned test - the last test took off, separated successfully, and had a soft landing (but lost its propulsion module due to a hydraulics problem). You want it to be perfect and be perfect with passengers.
Once the desert-landing, weightlessness-inducing flight has been safely tested, CEO Bob Smith said, the company will focus in on “what prices are and what that whole process looks like.” So block out your space vacation now, but have backup plans just in case.