Look alive, space tourism fans. Because you might want to start saving up your pennies to pay for a trip to space next year.
The private company Blue Origin, owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, is apparently planning to start selling tickets to ride on its rocket in 2019, for about $50,000 to $250,000. It’s not yet clear when the company will start flying people, though.
“We plan to start flying our first test passengers soon,” said Blue Origin Senior Vice President Rob Meyerson at the Amazon Web Services Public Sector Summit in Washington last week, reported SpaceNews. “We expect to start selling tickets in 2019.”
Blue Origin has been busy for the last few years testing out the rocket it’ll use for these flights, called New Shepard. It can reach a maximum altitude of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles), the official line of space, giving paying customers a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth.
The rocket has now flown eight times, each without any humans on board, with the latest occurring on April 29 this year. That included a mannequin and cameras inside the crew capsule, which separated from the booster and returned to Earth separately, showing its large windows.
The flights will last about 11 minutes from launch to landing, including several minutes of weightlessness. The capsule can carry six people, with passengers able to undo their seatbelts and float around while in space, looking out the window to get a rather magnificent view of Earth.
Blue Origin’s reluctance to sell tickets so far is a bit different from Virgin Galactic, one of its main rivals for the emerging space tourism market. They have been selling tickets for up to $250,000 for a decade, but have also yet to launch people into space, with more than 700 signed up so far.
And Blue Origin has some grander goals too, including building an orbit-capable rocket called New Glenn, and potentially even sending a lunar lander to the Moon called Blue Moon.
“We believe that setting up colonies on the moon is the next logical step towards exploring Mars and beyond,” said Meyerson. “Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and we accept there are many ways to get there.”
For the time being, however, it looks like the first step towards that goal will involve sending paying customers on short jaunts into space. Time will tell exactly how much that will cost, and when those first people might start launching. Spoiler though, you’re probably going to need to be rich.