Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to make space tourism a reality.
His secretive space company, Blue Origin, recently opened its doors to journalists for the first time. A rival to firms like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin made headlines after it successfully launched and landed a rocket vertically.
But scant other details have previously been known about Blue Origin. Here’s a look at what’s new.
- Blue Origin wants to send humans to space next year. The company is hoping to launch a manned spacecraft in 2017, according to The Guardian. The newspaper reported the crew wouldn’t be paying passengers just yet.
- It wants to start flying tourists by 2018. Blue Origin plans to relaunch its New Shepard reusable rocket again in the near future, The New York Times reports. If that mission goes well, the company says it could start blasting passengers into space six at a time by 2018.
- A chunk of Blue Origin’s business will come from selling rocket engines to other companies. United Launch Alliance, a joint Lockheed Martin-Boeing venture, is planning to use Blue Origin’s engines for its next-generation Vulcan rocket.
- The company wants to reduce the cost of spaceflight. Bezos believes space holds the solutions to Earth’s most pressing problems, like the energy crisis, according to the Times. But reaping those benefits means first reducing the cost of space travel.
- Bezos is heavily involved in the company’s operations. Bezos says he regularly spends time at Blue Origin’s facility in Kent, Wash. One engineer said he’s just as knowledgeable about the company’s technology as anyone else in the building, according to The Guardian. Bezos hasn’t revealed how much money he’s poured into Blue Origin, which was founded in 2000. But he did say it was a “very significant number.”