American billionaire Jeff Bezos is planning on charging at least $200,000 for his rocket company’s first trips into space next year.
Potential customers and the aerospace industry have been eager to learn the cost of a ticket on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle, and now they can rest easy as it’s just one-fifth of $1million.
The Seattle-based company, started by Amazon.com Inc founder Bezos in 2000, told a business conference last month they planned test flights with passengers on the New Shepard soon and to start selling tickets next year.
Blue Origin representatives did not respond to requests for comment on its programs and pricing strategy, but one of their employees with first-hand knowledge of the pricing plan says the company will start selling tickets in the range of $US200,000 to $US300,000.
The New Shepard is designed to autonomously fly six passengers more than 100 km above Earth into suborbital space, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet before the pressurised capsule returns to earth under parachutes.
The capsule features six observation windows Blue Origin says are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747.
Blue Origin has completed eight test flights of the vertical take-off and landing New Shepard from its launch pad in Texas but none with passengers aboard.
The company will reportedly do the first test in space of its capsule escape system, which propels the crew to safety should the booster explode, “within weeks”.