If you have a spare $200,000 in your mattress, you could be able to buy a ticket to space on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s New Shepard. Bezos plans to charge passengers about that much – or maybe a little more – for the New Shepard’s maiden voyage into space sometime next year.
Blue Origin, Bezos’s company, is part of his vision to make space flight accessible to tourists. And New Shepard is designed to autonomously fly six people about 62 miles above Earth’s surface. It flies high enough for passengers to experience weightlessness.
Bezos’s competitor Richard Branson is charging $250,000 for the same type of flight. His company, Virgin Galactic, claims to have sold 650 tickets so far, but unlike Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic has not set a date for flights to begin.
Blue Origin hasn’t set exact dates, but it announced in a June conference that it will start test flights with passengers soon. The company also says that it would likely begin selling tickets next year.
However, the company did say in a statement, “We will fly passengers when we are ready. We have a flight test schedule and schedules of those types always have uncertainties and contingencies. Anyone predicting dates is guessing.”
In April, the company did launch a recycled New Shepard rocket. Its dummy – named Mannequin Skywalker – made it through the test flight .
SpaceX, another of Bezos’s competitors, is more focused on a trip to Mars with its BFR. SpaceX and Boeing recently had several technical issues that translated into huge setbacks for its planned flights to the International Space Station.
What Do You Think?
Would you – assuming that you had an extra $200k sitting around – take a flight to space? Would you volunteer for any of the test flights? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please join the conversation on Facebook or on Twitter.