Blue Origin seems very close to flying paying customers on its New Shepard sub-orbital rocket, having conducted a dress rehearsal of astronaut loading and unloading on its latest mission. Today, it also revealed that it will be selling the first ticket (tickets?) on board its inaugural commercial flight starting next week, on Wednesday, May 5.
The “when, and how much” are the two burning questions that remain around the Jeff Bezos-backed space company’s first commercial passenger flights. Blue Origin has been in the process of testing, developing and flight-certifying its spacecraft for human use for the past few years, and in its most recent missions the focus has squarely been on what are essentially finishing touches, like the aforementioned dress rehearsal, and a test of cabin comfort, communication and control features on a flight before that earlier this year.
We’ve tried asking Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith about the cost of flights a number of times, but he declined to provide specifics, beyond saying that it’ll be in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars range. That’s not a surprising ticket price, given the ride, which includes a trip to space in the reusable New Shepard capsule stage that allows passengers to spend multiple minutes totally weightless in zero gravity, with ample window real estate to take in the space-based perspective of Earth.
Blue Origin isn’t sharing much more right now about what we’ll see next week, but did say we can expect more details come Wednesday, so stay tuned.