Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is finally getting ready to sell tickets for seats on its suborbital New Shepard rocket.
No details on price or timelines yet, but the company tweeted a video on Thursday featuring a cowboy-hat-wearing Jeff Bezos driving an electric Rivian truck through the Texas desert right after Blue Origin’s 15th New Shepard test flight on April 14th. “Guys, how exciting is this, c’mon,” he said before stepping out to inspect the company’s crew capsule, which had just landed under parachutes (without a crew inside).
Blue Origin’s tweet included a link to an application on its website that urged visitors to “SIGN UP TO LEARN HOW YOU CAN BUY THE VERY FIRST SEAT ON NEW SHEPARD,” asking for a full name, email, and phone number. An announcement will come May 5th.
The five-story-tall New Shepard rocket is designed to launch a crew capsule with seats for six roughly 340,000 feet into the sky toward the edge of space. Paying tourists can experience a few minutes of weightlessness in microgravity and witness super high-altitude views of Earth. After separating from the crew capsule midair, the rocket booster returns for a vertical landing, and minutes later the crew capsule also descends back to land under a set of parachutes for a soft touchdown.
New Shepard’s last uncrewed test flight was “a verification step for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts,” Blue Origin said at the time, dropping subtle hints that its next flight might include astronauts. But very few details about the company’s commercial spaceflight plans — including cost and timing — are available to date.