Accompanying Bezos were his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old and former member of NASA’s “Mercury 13” program Wally Funk and, importantly, Blue Origin’s first paying customer, 18-year-old Oliver Daeman. But the point of Blue Origin, Bezos says, is to open space up for the masses — or at least, those who can afford a ticket (the seat that eventually went to Daeman was worth $28 million).
Blue Origin says it is taking orders for future flights from the company's Launch Site One in Van Horn, Texas. The company tells Inverse it has no details to share yet as to what the schedule for sending tourists to space looks like, but the firm’s leadership has let slip some clues about what’s next.
When are the next Blue Origin flights?
Blue Origin’s next crewed flight could come as soon as the end of September or the beginning of October 2021. That’s according to comments by Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith, made during a July 18 media briefing.
At the same event, Blue Origin Director of Astronaut and Orbital Sales Ariane Cornell said there will be two more Blue Origin crewed trips to space in 2021. So it is feasible that if Blue Origin launches a flight in September or October, then the second flight could launch closer to the holiday season.
Blue Origin will make cargo launches in addition to crewed flights this year, according to Cornell. So far, the company has made nine cargo flights so far. Unlike SpaceX, these cargo flights are sub-orbital, rather than missions designed to place payloads in orbit.
Blue Origin also plans to work with NASA on the space agency’s Suborbital Crew program, according to Cornell.
Who will Blue Origin take to space?
Blue Origin has not released the names of any future customer-astronauts, but both Smith and Cornell suggest the company has a sizable waiting list for seats.
During the July 18 briefing, Smith said that around 7,500 people had bid for a seat in the June 12 auction.
“We have already built a robust pipeline of customers that are interested,” according to Cornell.
The company’s vision is for “a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.”
What vehicles will Blue Origin fly to space?
Blue Origin’s upcoming crewed and cargo launches will use the company’s suborbital New Shepherd rocket system, which consists of a reusable booster and crew or cargo capsule.
The company has two New Shepherd vehicles in operation, with the vehicle that flew Bezos to space dedicated to crewed launches and the second dedicated to cargo.
Blue Origin views New Shepherd as a second stage to Blue Origin’s larger rocket, New Glenn, which is still under development.
New Glenn will be larger even than the SpaceX Falcon 9, and the company says it will be capable of placing 45 tons of payload into orbit.
How much is a Blue Origin ticket?
Although Blue Origin has not revealed the price for a ride on New Shepherd (space tourism competitor Virgin Galactic is charging $250,000 a ride), they are taking orders.
It is worth remembering here that the seat Daeman eventually occupied on the July 20 flight sold for $28 million at auction.
People who want to find out more and are interested in buying a ticket should email email@example.com, Cornell says, and “we will certainly get back to you and make sure we can get you on one of our next flights.”