Ever dreamt of becoming an astronaut, but been daunted by the long odds of being one of the chosen few to make it to outer space? Blue Origin may have your solution as soon as 2018 – assuming you’ve got the astronomical funds to match.
Blue Origin president Rob Meyerson reiterated the company’s timeline at last week's International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in New Mexico.
The company laid out its initial target dates earlier this year, but they were dependent partly on a safety test conducted October 5. The test successfully showcased the New Shepard’s “in-flight escape” systems, which would securely bring passengers to the ground in the case of an aborted launch.
During the test, the crew capsule’s “escape motor” dislodged the capsule from the vehicle’s main booster, and sent it to a safe landing by parachute. The booster itself also landed safely, surpassing even the company’s expectations (it was expected that the force of the capsule separation would throw the booster off balance.)
“This test got us one step closer to human spaceflight,” said Meyerson at the conference.
Those with the drive (and dough) for an 11-minute trip to the edge of space with Blue Origin can sign up to be notified when ticket sales begin. It’s hard to guess how much they’ll cost at this point, but it’s probably safe to say they won’t be cheap (seats for a similar trip on Virgin Galactic are already priced at $250,000.)
Those who opt for a New Shepard flight, however, will get first access to flights on New Glenn, the heavy-duty rocket set to reach full Earth orbit that Blue Origin plans to start testing around 2019.
Banner Photo: An astronaut. (Alyse & Remi / Flickr)