Space company Blue Origin from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos already wants to bring tourists to space this summer. The first tourist flight with New Shepard spacecraft is scheduled to fly on July 20.
New Shepard is designed to autonomously bring six passengers to a height of 100 kilometers. Thats high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth. Then the spacecraft descends again with the help of parachutes. New Shepard doesnt reach the altitude and speed to get into orbit around the Earth.
The first tourist flight is launched in western Texas. The spacecraft must land again in the same place. After the first flight on 20 July there are still a number of manned flights to take place this year, said a spokesman for Blue Origin at a press conference.
Its not clear what passengers are paying for the flight with the space company. It would be a few tons. On the first flight, one seat is reserved for the winner of an online auction, whose proceeds go to a foundation founded by Blue Origin.
With its launch on 20 July, Bezos seems to be trump its competitors. Space company Virgin Galactic of entrepreneur Richard Branson will perform a first similar flight later this year, with Branson on board. Tourists should be able to enter space with Virgin Galactic at the beginning of 2022.
SpaceX from Tesla boss Elon Musk also wants to make a first commercial space flight during the year; however, those passengers go high enough to get into orbit around the Earth. SpaceX already managed to bring astronauts to ISS space station last year.