A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket lifts off with a crew of six, together with Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of the primary American in area Alan Shepard, for whom the spacecraft is known as, from Launch Website One in west Texas, U.S. December 11, 2021.
Joe Skipper | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Jeff Bezos’ area firm Blue Origin flew 14 folks to area in 2021, and CEO Bob Smith on Thursday mentioned the agency must construct extra of its New Shepard rockets to satisfy the demand from the area tourism market.
“I feel the problem for Blue at this level is that we’re really provide restricted,” Smith mentioned, talking on the FAA Business Area Transportation Convention in Washington.
Blue Origin launched three crewed missions with its New Shepard rocket and capsule final yr, in addition to one cargo analysis flight. Smith says the corporate can “simply double that” variety of missions in 2022.
New Shepard launches from Blue Origin’s non-public facility within the Texas desert and reaches above 100 kilometers (or over 340,000 toes of altitude), previous the 80-kilometer boundary the U.S. makes use of to mark the sting of area. Blue Origin presently has two operational New Shepard rocket boosters, one for analysis cargo flights and the opposite for passenger flights.
The corporate has not publicly disclosed pricing for seats on its New Shepard rocket. The one indication of Blue Origin’s pricing construction comes from an public sale for a seat on its first flight, which went for $28 million. Bezos has beforehand mentioned the corporate has bought practically $100 million value of tickets, and Smith on Thursday mentioned there have been “hundreds of individuals within the public sale course of.”
“We will see there’s very strong demand” for extra New Shepard flights, Smith mentioned.
Bezos’s firm, as effectively Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, each fly spacecraft that can carry passengers, but in different ways. Virgin Galactic this week opened ticket gross sales to the general public, which begin at $450,000 every. SpaceX has extra non-public multi-day journeys to orbit scheduled, with astronaut Jared Isaacman recently announcing plans for as many as three more spaceflights with Musk’s firm, after main the Inspiration4 mission final yr.
CEO Smith spoke alongside Blue Origin vice chairman Audrey Powers at Thursday’s FAA convention, with the latter emphasizing the corporate’s work on the security of its New Shepard rockets. The corporate misplaced leaders of the New Shepard program last year amid a broader talent exodus. Additional, an essay printed by Blue Origin’s former head of worker communications raised safety concerns that have been then reviewed by the FAA.
“I feel we put collectively a really, very strong method” to security, Powers mentioned on Thursday, including that Blue Origin has been “capable of show that out over the course of the yr, with not only one however with three profitable [crewed] flights.”
Smith additionally mentioned he believes the tourism market is “actually thrilling” as a result of it means the area business will get “to listen to different voices” who “have not been serious about this for his or her total life, giving the instance of William Shatner talking after his flight. Shatner emotionally described his trip as “the most profound experience” in feedback to Bezos minutes after touchdown again on Earth.