During the live broadcast of today’s New Shepard flight test, one of the hosts let slip some enticing info for anyone interested in flying with Blue Origin in the future. Apparently, the passengers who fly on the New Shepard will get first dibs on tickets for the New Glenn, the huge orbital rocket that Blue Origin will start building soon in Florida.
Like Amazon Prime, but for rockets
"We’re going to make sure that our astronauts that fly on New Shepard are going to get first access to tickets on New Glenn," said Ariane Cornell, one of the webcast hosts. That small piece of information confirms that Blue Origin’s future orbital rocket will be used for space tourism, similar to the New Shepard. However, the New Glenn will be able to launch commercial satellites into orbit as well, according to Blue Origin CEO and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bezos revealed plans for the New Glenn last month via email, claiming that the new rocket will fly by the end of the decade. And if the renderings that Bezos shared are accurate, the New Glenn is going to be a massive vehicle. It will be taller than both SpaceX’s future Falcon Heavy rocket and the Delta IV Heavy, the largest vehicle manufactured by the United Launch Alliance. Seven BE-4 engines, also manufactured by Blue Origin, will power the main portion of the rocket.
The New Glenn has yet to be assembled though, and the rocket’s BE-4 engines are still in development. Plus, the New Shepard won’t be taking paying customers into space until 2018 at the earliest, according to Bezos. And there’s still no price estimate for how much tickets will cost. But just think of a New Shepard ticket as an Amazon Prime membership: pay a whole lot up front and get some perks from the company down the line.