Blue Origin could be offering commercial suborbital space flights as soon as 2018. Jeff Bezos, the company's founder, has revealed his team's plans for the coming years during an event that showed off Blue Origin's headquarters to the press for the first time. Bezos' space company wasn't making as much noise as, say, SpaceX, until it successfully launched, landed and then actually reused a reusable rocket before anyone else. Clearly, that did wonders for the team's confidence.
To prepare for future space tourists, Blue Origin will build six "New Shepard" (its reusable rocket's name) vehicles. Each one will be able to carry up to six passengers 62 miles above the Earth for a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of the planet only astronauts can see in person at the moment. In fact, the company's next two vehicles, which it's already putting together, will already have windows people can peek through.
According to Bezos, the once-secretive company will fly test pilots next year and will push through with its goal of taking paying customers to suborbital space in 2018 if all goes well. Since there's always a chance that something won't go well -- Virgin Galactic lost SpaceShipTwo when it crashed in 2014 -- the company could still adjust its timeline. Bezos hasn't announced a ticket price yet, but he did say that it'll be able to compete with what other private companies charge. Virgin Galactic started selling tickets for SpaceShipTwo flights years ago for $250,000 each, so expect Blue Origin's to be in the six figures, as well.