Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin launched three flights into space last year. The flights sent a total of 14 people to space, and In 2022, the company aims to double that number. CEO Bob Smith says he expects the company can “easily double” the number of humans they send to space this year. However, in order for that to happen, the group would likely need an additional New Shepard Rocket. Additionally, the turnaround time between flights would need to be cut significantly. Smith adds that the increase in launches will be made possible by a new vehicle that the company expects to bring into service this year.
During a presentation at the 24th annual FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference, Smith provided additional insight. “The market is robust. It’s very robust,” the CEO said.
“The challenge for Blue at this point is that we’re actually supply-limited. No business ever wants to be supply-limited when there’s robust demand. It’s incumbent on us to go build new vehicles, get them ready and safely go fly, and also safely get our launch cadence up.”
He did not specify how many flights Blue Origin will schedule for 2022. He did insist that all six seats on the rocket will be filled for each trip, though. The company has not revealed the cost for a seat on a New Shepard flight, but it certainly isn’t cheap. Additionally, Blue Origin has kept information private regarding how many have paid and who.
One Bidder Offered $28 Million for a Seat on Blue Origin Flight
What we do know is that one cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun was able to successfully purchase a seat on the first New Shepard crewed flight last July. Sun paid a whopping $28 million for the spot, only to have to pull out of the trip last minute. However, Sun still plans to make the trip before the end of 2022. We may see him on one of the upcoming Blue Origin missions this year.
Blue Origin told SpaceNews that this bid gave the public an idea of what kind of value the company’s wealthy consumer base puts on taking a trip to space. “We’ve learned a lot of interesting things about the market over the past year,” said Audrey Powers. Powers serves as vice-president of New Shepard flight and mission operations at Blue Origin. She also flew on New Shepard in October.
Although Space Tourism is an expensive hobby, Blue Origin certainly has its competitors. For example, Virgin Galactic just opened up seat sales for $450,000. This price point falls significantly cheaper than Sun’s bid for a flight with Blue Origin. Securing a seat only requires a $150,000 initial deposit, and the seats are given on a first-come, first-served basis.