So far, the space tourism company has flown 14 people into space on three flights in July, October and December. To satisfy more requestsSpaceNews suggests, Blue Origin will need to bring another New Shepard vehicle aboard and reduce turnaround times between flights.
“The market is robust. It’s very robust, ”said Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin, during a presentation at the 24th Annual Space Transportation Commercialization Conference on Thursday, February 17. The presentation was reported by SpaceNews.
“The challenge for Blue at this point is that we’re actually limited in offering. No company ever wants to be limited in supply when there is robust demand, ”said Smith. “It is up to us to build new vehicles, prepare them and fly them safely, and also safely increase our launch rate.”
While Blue Origin has yet to release its operating price per person, it has indicated market projections based on the $ 28 million Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun offered to join New Shepard’s first manned flight in July.
Blue Origin told SpaceNews that the auction gave the space tourism company an idea of the value their clientele, which tends to be very wealthy, places on a journey into space. “We’ve learned a lot of interesting things about the market over the past year,” said Audrey Powers, New Shepard’s vice president of flight and mission operations at Blue Origin, who also flew New Shepard in October.
The New Shepard spacecraft has a capacity of six people, and so far only one launch (the December one) has been launched with all seats filled. Smith declined to tell SpaceNews how many New Shepard flights (manned or unmanned) will fly in 2022, but said all manned flights will carry a maximum of six people.
Blue Origin’s main competitor, Virgin Galactic, has just reopened seat sales for $ 450,000 apiece; their missions were sidelined until the end of this year following maintenance and improvement work on the VSS Unity spacecraft carrier aircraft, VMS Eve. Virgin said it hopes to have 1,000 people on the waiting list, up from 700 in November 2021. The company is also building the second of its spacecraft, which will each carry up to six tourists and two professional pilots.