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The competition heats up: Jeff Bezos reveals some details about the goals of his space company, Blue Origin.
Blue Origin is now working on its third version of the New Shepard, which is designed to take everyday people on suborbital journeys. Bezos said that he’s hopeful that this will be the last iteration, and he wants to see the next vehicle ready for commercial operation. “I’m very optimistic about that,” he said. Bezos didn’t give any specific timetables. However, he did say that Blue Origin’s orbital vehicle, designed to send astronauts to the International Space Station and elsewhere, will be tested by 2018. Eventually, the goal is to let anyone fly up into space safely at reasonable prices.
Not a lot of details, but previously we knew practically nothing. That the present ship is being designed for suborbital tourist flights makes it a direct competitor of Virgin Galactic and XCOR. And considering the problems that Virgin Galactic has with SpaceShipTwo, and that XCOR doesn’t have the big bucks of Bezos, Blue Origin might actually be in the lead in the race to put the first tourists in space.