Blue origin is about to start selling seats on its New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.
“It’s time. You can buy the very first seat on #NewShepard. Register to learn how to do this at http://blueorigin.com. Details will appear on May 5th. #GradatimFerociter, “a company run by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, said via Twitter today (April 29). (“Gradatim Ferociter” is Blue Origin’s motto. It means “step by step, furious.”
Blue Origin didn’t just take it up on May 5. This marks the 60th anniversary of the first American crewed space flight sent by a NASA astronaut. Alan Shepard – after whom New Shepard is named – on a 15-minute suborbital walk.
Of course, Shepard did not make the first manned flight into space. This award goes to the astronaut Yuri Gagarin, which flew into low-earth orbit on April 12, 1961.
New Shepard is a reusable rocket and capsule duo that Blue Origin is developing to transport humans and scientific experiments into suborbital space. To date, the six-passenger capsule has flown 15 bareboat test flights, the last of which took place on April 14. Blue Origin announced this month’s flight as “cosmonaut rehearsal mission,“so today’s news is not entirely unexpected.
Blue Origin did not disclose how much a seat on board the New Shepard will cost; presumably we’ll find out on May 5th. But for perspective: the most recent price per seat on board Virgin Galactic. SpaceShipTwo, New Shepard’s main competitor in the suborbital space tourism game, was valued at $ 250,000.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.