Anyone interested in travelling on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship will have to pay six figures for a ticket next year. Insiders told Reuters that customers who want to hitch a ride with Jeff Bezos’ rocket company are expected to pay between US$200,000 and $300,000.
Higher-ups at Blue Origin revealed in June that they planned on conducting test flights with passengers in the near future. Tickets are expected to go on sale in 2019. The company has been transparent about the vehicle’s design but has kept other details such as ticket prices under wraps.
Employees who preferred to remain anonymous told Reuters that the tickets would cost at a minimum $200,000 and up to at least $300,000.
The spaceship will consist of a launch rocket with a detachable passenger capsule containing six observation windows. It will have the ability to autonomously fly six passengers over 62 miles (100 km) above the earth. Those wealthy enough to join the flight will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and be able to see earth’s curvature before returning to earth.
Bezos explained in the spring: “We’ve been designing the capsule interior with an eye toward precision engineering, safety, and comfort. Every seat’s a window seat.”
So far, Blue Origin has conducted eight vertical take-off and landing test flights without passengers onboard. Two of the New Shepard’s test flights included a test dummy dubbed “Mannequin Skywalker.”
One of the insiders said the company planned on testing the capsule’s escape system “within weeks.” The escape system is necessary in case the booster explodes, and the passengers need to safely escape.
Bezos, who is also the founder of Amazon, isn’t the only one working on a project to get people into space. SpaceX founder Elon Musk, Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, and Russian firm KosmoKurs are all offering unique space travel experiences.
KosmoKurs wants to send passengers 124 miles above Earth by 2020. They plan on charging space tourists between $200,000 and $250,000. Virgin Galactic has yet to set a launch date for its space vessel but has sold about 650 tickets and will charge about $250,000 per ticket. Musk’s plan is to send cargo ships to Mars by 2022 and a colony of people to the planet by 2024.
Those with a bit more money may be interested in a plan by Russia’s space agency, the Roscosmos State Corporation. It’s investing in a new luxury hotel on the International Space Station. Those wishing to visit the satellite can expect to pay between $40 million and $60 million per trip, which can last for up to a month.
Engineers at Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are trying to keep costs down by using spacecraft with reusable parts. Marco Caceres, an aerospace analyst from Teal Group, estimated that Blue Origin will be spending about $10 million per flight. However, six passengers paying $300,000 would only cover a fraction of that cost.
If you’re interested in flying into space with Blue Origin, don’t expect to be a passenger on its first flight. Insiders told Reuters that employees will most likely be selected for the trip.