Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is looking forward to a ride into space. His private space company, Blue Origin, has just demonstrated the potential with their vertical takeoff space vehicle named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space. The New Shepard soared 100 km (330,000 feet) above earth after launch prior to its rocket making a gentle, controlled landing at its launch site in West Texas. The separate unoccupied crew compartment also returned safely to earth, but it is the return of the rocket which is revolutionary. Being able to reuse these expensive components will bring down the cost of space travel substantially. Bezos also noted wryly that this is also the beginning of a used rocket market.
Blue Origin hopes commercial flights might start as early as 2017 and people can already inquire about tickets on their web site. This also contains the Blue Origin video as above, as well as the photo of the revolutionary New Shepherd space vehicle.
The space tourist flights are expected to be based at Cape Canaveral in Florida, although it is becoming a little crowded there these days. Others using this base to develop commercial space flight include Elon Musk’s Space X and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Space X has tried three times so far to reland a rocket on a barge and has been close, but not quite there yet. Hopefully they will not be too far behind so there will be a choice of carriers for a space adventure in the near future.
Bezos has lined up for a Blue Origin ride, saying he has been waiting for this since he was 5 years old. If you wonder what being an astronaut for a day might be like, check out their web site: https://www.blueorigin.com/astronaut-experience#youtube-YJhymiZjqc