Blue Origin is another of the commercial space companies, alongside SpaceX and Orbital ATK, located in the United States that has, for a long time, kept its company plans a big secret. Much of what Blue Origin does, and has done, has gone “shielded” from the press for ages, but Bezos gave reporters a rare first-time glimpse inside of Blue Origin headquarters last week.
As a part of the rare, first-time glimpse, Bezos provided reporters with a full tour of the Blue Origin headquarters, answering questions openly as factory workers assembled parts and 3D printers made them.
Although Blue Origin’s rocket take-offs and landings have a somewhat spotless record in comparison to SpaceX, Blue Origin’s rockets are used for a significantly different role – sub-orbital transportation. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are intended for much deeper penetration into Space such that its cargo can orbit the Earth, and this gives SpaceX’s a much higher value to agencies like NASA.
Nevertheless, Bezos is optimistic that Blue Origin will have some exciting news and announcements to come. Bezos allowed reporters to grab a look at Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsules, which were still under construction.
The capsules will allow up to six passengers to be launched into Space without a pilot, where the passengers will get to experience the ‘weightlessness’ of microgravity for just a short period of time. Then, because the capsule is a sub-orbital one, it will return to Earth instead of orbiting the Earth and will land safely. The rocket that takes the passengers up will also land back on Earth, but separately from the New Shepard capsule.
The plans for Blue Origin to fare passengers to space for profit are not for the faint-at-heart, and also not for the poor. These trips to space are going to cost a lot of money, although the details of cost have not been revealed as of yet.
The first test flights may begin some time in 2017, and the first passenger services may start as early as 2018, but may be delayed depending on Bezos’ gut feeling.
Overall, the first-ever revealing of Blue Origin’s headquarters showed reporters that Blue Origin is working on a different kind of future – one that will include results, and not just hype.
Source: Discovery News