Are you interested in casually traveling to space with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos? Do you have $4 million? Read on. Tesla and Elon Musk might have dreams to go to space one day, but Jeff Bezos’s spaceship seems a lot further along in the process. Get to know Blue Origin and the New Shepard spaceship.
Does Jeff Bezos have a space program?
Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin “with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.” Bezos believes that with Blue Origin, people on Earth can explore industries that need expanding in Space. With this in mind, Bezos is offering a ride on the New Shepard spaceship for a cool price of $4,240,000.
At the time of publication, the bidding was at $3,800,000. By entering a bid of $4,000,000, you agree to pay a buyer’s premium of $240,000 for a total of $4.24 million.
If that price doesn’t work, Blue Origin is also working with STEM programs worldwide to give students hands-on experience with payloads. This offers graduate-level research helping develop a full lifecycle of a space project.
But Bezos isn’t the only one aiming for space. Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and has also been hard at work at getting into space. It isn’t clear what Musk thinks of this bidding war just yet, but he has enough on his plate with the Model 3 right now.
The Jeff Bezos’ spaceship, the New Shepard
The New Shepard is a reusable launch vehicle ready for suborbital spaceflight! Mission NS-15 is the flight that people can bid on for a ride, but it doesn’t have a date yet. The New Shepard was named after the first American to go to space, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard. The New Shepard is apparently only an 11-minute flight set to deliver payloads into space.
The internationally recognized boundary of space is called the Kármán line, which this spaceship can reach in 11 minutes. There is a pressurized capsule for the crew, with room for up to six. It contains the largest windows on any spaceship thus far.
Ring and wedge fins help stabilize the booster and reduce fuel use while the New Shepard is heading back to Earth. It also comes equipped with drag brakes to help slow the booster down. Alt fins help stabilize during ascent and assist in steering the ship back to the landing pad. The alt fins do this at airspeeds of up to Mach 4.
The New Shepard is equipped with a BE-3 (Blue Engine 3) engine. This helps propel the ship into space and restarts again to help it land safely. Blue Origin says, “the uniquely throttleable engine slows the booster down to just 5 mph (8 km/h) for landing.” The landing gear deploys during touchdown to help keep the New Shepard a truly reusable spaceship.
What does $4.2 million get you on a spaceship?
The New Shepard is fully autonomous, meaning you won’t be operating the spaceship if you are one of the lucky six people onboard. Each passenger gets a large window seat inside the environmentally-controlled capsule. Some of the benefits of this journey include a reclined seat with a five-point harness, a crew escape system, and convenient armrests for zero-g travel. There is also an infotainment screen for inflight updates.
Blue Origin has been hard at work testing the New Shepard since 2012. Thus far, it has made 15 consecutive successful missions. These missions include escape tests that show the crew how to activate the escape system during flight. Spooky!