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Blue Origin Prepares Space Tourism Launch

By Lou Whiteman - May 5, 2021 at 9:41AM

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Jeff Bezos' space start-up could start taking reservations as soon as today.

Look out, Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 2.01%): Competition is coming to the space tourism industry.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is expected to open up ticket sales for trips on its New Shepard spacecraft, and its website said that details of its commercial offering would be shared today. Reuters reported the company will announce the cost of a ticket, the timing of the first flight, and other details about its space tourism plans.

Aerial view of liftoff.

A launch of Blue Origin's New Shepard from West Texas. Image source: Blue Origin.

Blue Origin's tourism plans have been a closely guarded secret for years, but Reuters in 2018 said that the company planned to charge at least $200,000 per seat for a suborbital trip into space. The offering would compete directly with Virgin Galactic, which has a waiting list of consumers interested in paying about $250,000 for a brief journey into the stars.

Virgin Galactic had hoped to be flying tourists already, but its current plan is to begin service in 2022. Investors will get an update on its progress on May 10 when the company announces quarterly earnings.

The New Shepard is designed to fly six passengers about 100 kilometers above the Earth, high enough to experience weightlessness and see the curve of the planet.

In addition to Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, Elon Musk's SpaceX also plans to launch civilians into space in the years to come.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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