For now, Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin is working toward far shorter hops — 11 minute space rides that are not fast enough to put a spaceship into orbit around Earth.
Blue Origin has not started selling tickets or set prices to ride aboard its six-passenger, gumdrop-shaped capsule, known as New Shepard.
The reusable rocket and capsule is designed to carry passengers to an altitude of more than 100 miles (62 km) above the planet so they can experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of Earth set against the blackness of space. Unmanned test flights have been underway since 2015.
At the symposium, Bezos showed off a mockup of the passenger capsule, which sports six reclined seats, each with its own large window. Also on display was a scorched New Shepard booster rocket that was retired in October after five flights.
Like fellow tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of SpaceX, Bezos says that reusability is the key to cutting the cost of space flight. Last week, SpaceX re-launched a rocket for an unprecedented second mission to put a spacecraft into orbit.
"The engineering approach is a little different, but we're very like-minded," Bezos said of Musk.
Blue Origin is developing a second launch system to carry satellites, and eventually people, into orbit, similar to SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule.
Development costs for that system, known as New Glenn, will be about $2.5 billion.
There is no estimate yet for how much Bezos will invest overall on Blue Origin. But Bezos has indicated he will spend what it takes.
"It's a long road to get there and I'm happy to invest in it," Bezos said.
According to Forbes magazine, Bezos has a net worth of $78 billion.
News Source - Business Standard