Wednesday witnessed the rocket New Shepard from Blue Origin complete its 10th crew-less test flight, following a seamless launch from West Texas. According to the statements during yesterday’s launch broadcast, the company is aiming at a crewed flight later this year.
The fourth rocket of the company, which was first rated for human travelers, launched its facility situated in West Texas after a road trip in December, thus lending clarity to the timeline. The main feature of the suborbital rocket is that it’s reusable and has been designed particularly for the purpose of space tourism. Further, the company is also in the process of developing a bigger rocket boasting of heavy-lift, named New Glenn. The latter is slated to be unveiled in 2021.
During the broadcast of yesterday’s launch, the company director heading the astronautic as well as orbital sales department, Ariane Cornell expressed her excitement about human spaceflight being just around the corner for Blue Origin. She commented that they’re aiming at the end of the year but are definitely not in a hurry. Instead, they want to bide their time and do things right way.
The company is currently owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. Previously, it has floated possible timelines, targets of which include human launch within the span of a year and was made public in the month of December 2017, as well as a test run of a crewed flight by 2017-end, announced in 2016.
The step to follow crewed test flights will be the launch of tourist flight ticket sales. Accomplishment of this would prove to be a major milestone for the firm. Last summer, Blue Origin had made the announcement of its plans to start ticket sales at a yet-unknown cost this year. Cornell said that it’s not very far away. In fact, she commented that she had the ability to touch the rocket capable of taking people to the space and expressed hopes of being one of the passengers one day.