Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin’s trip to the edge of space is just the beginning, the Amazon founder hopes.
The company intends to launch two more journeys before the end of the year, and has called for people to email in and buy tickets for future trips.
The company has already gained $100 million through ticket sales, including the public auction that ran in the run-up to the launch. The still-anonymous winner of that auction paid $28 million – but did not make the journey because they were busy, with the seat being given instead to 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.
During a press conference that was more notable for a much-criticised remark about Amazon workers as well as the announcement of $200 million in donations, Mr Bezos said that the rocket had been designed with the future in mind.
Building such a large system and using the fuel it does would be “overkill” for space tourism of this kind, he noted, and the company intends to send people further into space and onto other objects such as the Moon in the future.
But first the company hopes to send many more people up to space as part of its tourism efforts, which will help fund those plans, as well as being used as practice to make such journeys more cheap.
It hopes those two crewed journeys are followed by many more as the company develops the capacity to safely launch its rockets more regularly.
Blue Origin has not announced how expensive tickets will be. Throughout the company’s official live stream of the launch, commentators repeatedly said that anyone who liked what they had seen should email the company to see about booking a ticket on a future flight.
The first travellers expressed their hope that they could go back on those following journeys at some point in the future.
Mr Bezos joked that he would go as quickly as the rocket – which is built to be re-usable, after landing itself on the ground – could be filled back up with fuel.
Wally Funk, the aviation pioneer who was personally invited by Jeff Bezos to join the trip, also said that she was keen for another trip.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to finally get it up there,” Funk said. “I want to go again — fast.”