Like fellow moguls Elon Musk and Richard Branson, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos hopes to send humans to Mars and beyond with his company Blue Origin. But first he has his eye on getting civilian passengers into Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceships in 2018 for suborbital journeys -- after trained astronauts test them out.
Bezos also has a former NASA engineer named Nicholas Patrick overseeing development of the vessels as the company’s human integration architect.
Those interested in booking one of Blue Origin’s future suborbital flights can expect to experience a brisk 11-minute journey, complete with up to three G’s of acceleration and roughly four minutes of weightlessness, GeekWire reports.
Patrick recently spoke at an Astronomy on Tap event at the Peddler Brewing Company in Seattle, where he discussed some of the details that he and the Blue Origin team are working to determine.
“Obviously, everybody’s goal is to get this price down a long way. We’re not going to get millions of people living and working in space by charging a quarter of a million dollars or $100,000 just for a suborbital flight,” Patrick said. “We need to get that cost down to thousands or even hundreds of dollars eventually. That way we can afford to send a lot of people up there, which is when the space-based economy will really take off.”
Patrick said that the company is developing a safety training program that would take place over the course of several days, rather than weeks or years, like the ones career astronauts have to complete. But unlike the professionals, New Shephard passengers will only have to wear flight suits, not heavy space suits.
“It’s simpler, it’s easier and it’s more comfortable,” Patrick said. “It will make for a better experience. And we’re not going to spend a long time in orbit where we can’t come back immediately. We know where (sic) we’re coming back. It’s 11 minutes after we launch.”
For a clearer sense of Blue Origin’s plans, check out some concept art in the video below:
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