Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin said it will start to sell tickets for sub-orbital sightseeing tours from today, signalling the start of the battle for the space tourism market.
The expectation is high not only about the prospect of a trip into space but also the cost of a seat, which up to now been a carefully guarded secret.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft will take six passengers up to 60 miles above the Earth’s surface, which is high enough for weightlessness for a few minutes, the company said.
There are six observation windows, which are three times the size of a transatlantic jet the company added.
Blue Origin’s launch of passenger flights will also give some bragging rights back to Bezos against Tesla Inc founder Elon Musk, whose SpaceX business is scheduled to take its first passengers up later this year.
Bezos was recently taunted by Musk following the award of a contract to take astronauts back to the Moon to SpaceX rather than a consortium including Blue Origin.
The Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) boss has made an official complaint against the award of that contract to SpaceX.
Virgin Galactic, meanwhile, intends to start paid trips early in 2022 after a first flight with founder Richard Branson this year.
Virgin has said it will charge more than $250,000 for new reservations but has not announced final pricing.
Reuters reported in 2018 that a flight with Blue Origin would cost between US$200,000 to US$300,000.