Jeff Bezos company planning human test space flights by 2017

March 9, 2016 by Donna Gordon Blankinship
Jeff Bezos company planning human test space flights by 2017
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos stands next to a copper exhaust nozzle to be used on a space ship engine during a media tour of Blue Origin, the space venture he founded, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. The private space company opened its doors to the media for the first time on Tuesday to give a glimpse of how organizations like Blue Origin are creating the next generation of rockets for private and public use. (AP Photo/Donna Blankinship)

Private space travel company Blue Origin expects its first test flights with people in 2017, company founder Jeff Bezos said Tuesday during a tour of the venture's research and development site outside Seattle.

And Bezos said thousands of people have expressed interest in eventually paying for a trip on a suborbital craft.

For now, the man who founded Amazon.com is spending some of the billions earned from the Seattle-based online retailer on high tech equipment and about 600 employees working in a former Boeing airplane parts facility. Bezos said he's convinced the company—a vision of his childhood dreams_will eventually be profitable.

The company isn't taking deposits yet, so it's unclear whether thousands of interested space travelers will translate into sales.

Blue Origin, founded in 2000, has launched a ship twice, and it landed safely. The company plans to keep testing until its usefulness is done then switch to other ships being built to test human flight.

The real money will be made selling rocket engines to others planning to launch satellites and spaceships, Bezos said. United Launch Alliance has asked Blue Origin to build the engine for its new launch vehicle so it can stop relying on Russian-made engines.

Jeff Bezos company planning human test space flights by 2017
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos stands next to a copper exhaust nozzle to be used on a space ship engine as he is photographed with some media members during a tour of Blue Origin, the space venture he founded, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. The private space company opened its doors to the media for the first time on Tuesday to give a glimpse of how organizations like Blue Origin are creating the next generation of rockets for private and public use. (AP Photo/Donna Blankinship)

Bezos, who still has his day job at Amazon, said he's deeply involved at Blue Origin and spends time in the Kent facility, about 17 miles south of Seattle. He enthusiastically shared technical details and explanations during a media tour and one engineer said he was as knowledgeable about the technology as anyone in the building.

"I only pursue things that I am passionate about," Bezos said. He spoke of dreaming of space travel and building rockets since he was 5.

He said he wasn't ready to share exactly how much he has invested in the space venture, saying just that all the high tech equipment and about 600 employees have added up to "a very significant number."

Jeff Bezos company planning human test space flights by 2017
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos stands next to a copper exhaust nozzle to be used on a space ship engine during a media tour of Blue Origin, the space venture he founded, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. The private space company opened its doors to the media for the first time on Tuesday to give a glimpse of how organizations like Blue Origin are creating the next generation of rockets for private and public use. (AP Photo/Donna Blankinship)

The media-shy company said welcoming the press to their development floor was a first step toward more openness, but all but a few photographs of the facility were prohibited.

Bezos said he wasn't concerned about his competition to build the next generation of rocket engines because society will need lots of help moving industry and people off the planet.

A handful of other U.S. companies are currently competing in the private space business, including SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, which are also at the testing stage.

Jeff Bezos company planning human test space flights by 2017
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos stands next to a copper exhaust nozzle to be used on a space ship engine during a media tour of Blue Origin, the space venture he founded, Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. The private space company opened its doors to the media for the first time on Tuesday to give a glimpse of how organizations like Blue Origin are creating the next generation of rockets for private and public use. (AP Photo/Donna Blankinship)

Bezos doesn't care about being the first private company to offer space tourism to the masses. The real goal is to perfect their equipment by flying as many as 100 suborbital flights a year. Bezos said safety is the No. 1 goal.

The company also wants to eventually decrease the cost of space launches by enough to put projects like building a colony on Mars within reach. The key is making spaceships reusable, which is Blue Origin's goal, Bezos said.

"What I know you cannot afford is throwing the hardware away," he said.

Explore further: Bezos space firm duplicates reusable rocket breakthrough

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KBK
not rated yet Mar 09, 2016
I don't think any one of these space companies will find a shortage of volunteers for initial space flight tests.

Even if told the odds of surviving were 50/50 on those initial flights, thousands would still line up just for the opportunity to take that chance.

The modern form of 'save the baby' over-caution is destroying humanity's speedy entry into the world of interstellar travel.

Within some sort of position of reasonable balance between desire, will, and technology..if all were to be allowed to move at their natural pace, this human entry into space would be happening much faster than it is right now.

Eg, one example.. If sociopaths had not forced 'iraq' ... humanity could have poured over a trillion dollars into the space programs, and thousands of humans would be in space by now.

Quite obviously, something is seriously fucking amiss, in a controlled and directed manner, within the darker hidden areas of so-called 'leadership'.
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 09, 2016
I don't think any one of these space companies will find a shortage of volunteers for initial space flight tests.


Yes, but what would they do with the volunteers? A sack of potatoes serves the same purpose on a space rocket, because they're completely computer controlled anyhow.

The purpose is space tourism, and the purpose of the tests is to make sure your tourists don't die, because the insurance costs would negate the ticket price, so it would be completely pointless to test-shoot actual people up at the risk of their death when they haven't actually got anything to do for the purpose of the test.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2016
I don't think any one of these space companies will find a shortage of volunteers for initial space flight tests.


Yes, but what would they do with the volunteers? A sack of potatoes serves the same purpose on a space rocket, because they're completely computer controlled anyhow.

launch them!
call it a form of population control?

[jk]
Mark Thomas
2.7 / 5 (7) Mar 09, 2016
"If sociopaths had not forced 'iraq' ... humanity could have poured over a trillion dollars into the space programs, and thousands of humans would be in space by now."

So what exactly what is stopping us from doing this right now? We have a solid technological base, a substantial global economy and more than enough people with the intelligence, skills and passion to get us to Mars. Mars is the next big step, regardless of whether we return to the Moon first or not. So what exactly is the holdup? Perhaps we lack the leadership and collective vision to push forward. Instead we have one possible U.S. president that tell school children that we have to fix our potholes first before we emphasize our space program. The space program inspires the whole world to do better, the pothole program, not so much.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
So what exactly is the holdup?
@Mark
TOO RIGHT!
more to the point: we know that funding TECH and NASA will actually stimulate the economy, so why CUT the NASA and Science budgets??

PREACH IT, Mark! LOL

I say we get Tyson and Nye on the ticket as independents for POTUS (who cares which is Pres.... both are far better qualified to be POTUS than the current candidates!)
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
@Mark et al
sorry for yelling.. i get excited when actual critical thought is used and intelligent people post here

it gives me hope that there is intelligent life here

plus, it really pisses me off when the gov't cuts NASA and science funding ... but is willing to spend money on a bailout of banks because they were stupid...

https://www.youtu...Db-cbadw

we should seriously chew on the message in that video link... of course, we should also just elect Tyson and Nye into POTUS and Vice...
Mark Thomas
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
@Captain Stumpy, I would love to see a scientist like Tyson or Nye be elected POTUS, especially Tyson. Since that is not very likely at the moment, maybe the next POTUS could appoint Tyson to a new Cabinet-level position as Science Advisor.

Mark Thomas
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
@Captain Stumpy, I watched your video link and couldn't agree more with Dr. Tyson. He is so right it is upsetting. I think we struggle as a society because exploring space is so far removed from our everyday lives. It reminds me of how people thought of the Internet in the early 1990s . . . there were a few visionaries who got it right and bunch more smart enough to jump in, but most of us struggled just to get our heads around it. Now we get it.

Space may be analogous. Eventually it will all be so obvious in hindsight . . . Of course it made sense to take advantage of the nearly unlimited resources out there. Yes, humanity was tremendously strengthened by fostering hope and rising to the challenge. Sure, it was smart to protect the Earth from asteroids and other threats. Obviously, we were able to reach a more advanced level as a civilization by expanding throughout the solar system and laying the foundation for even more amazing things to come.

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