Bezos Goes to Space
Blue Origin’s First Passenger Flight
Blue Origin’s first passenger flight to the edge of space with Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos aboard was a success, ushering in what the billionaire hopes will be a new era of space travel.
Yesterday morning Bezos and three passengers reached the edge of space and returned safely in a flight that took a little more than ten minutes. The passengers were able to experience weightlessness for a few minutes. This is a milestone for a company which had hoped to bring tourists to the edge of space years earlier. Following the successful flight, Blue Origin opened ticket sales for future flights, including two slated for sometime this year. The company is not disclosing pricing for the flights.
Space Market Poised for Serious Growth
The Bezos-backed space company is in a market where millions of dollars are being invested in startups and publicly traded companies. While space travel has long been the purview of the government, private firms have been entering the industry recently. They are going after what Wall Street thinks will be a more than $1 trillion market by 2040.
Just last week Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic (SPCE), and five other passengers traveled to the edge of space in a flight aimed at spurring interest in space travel. Meanwhile, SpaceX, Elon Musk’s space company, will take four commercial customers to space on its rocketship.
More Than Just Space Tourism
Blue Origin does not want to be just a space travel company. In addition to space tourism, it is bidding on government contracts from agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It is also developing New Glenn, a 321-foot rocket made to send payloads into orbit. Additionally, it is working on a new engine to replace ones currently used for secretive military and intelligence launches.
The historic Blue Origin flight could be the beginning of a new era for space travel. It will be interesting to see how the race to space among private companies unfolds.
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