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Jeff Bezos says Blue Origin will start space tourism in 2018

Private space travel company Blue Origin will start taking paying customers into space from 2018, says company founder Jeff Bezos.

The Amazon founder recently opened the doors of his secretive space company to reporters, revealing some of Blue Origin’s plans.

It’s the first time the company has been opened up to the press this way since its 2000 inception. Bezos claims that it won’t be the last.

The New Shepard reusable rocket that has successfully launched and landed in November and January will soon be ready for more tests. Should those go well, Blue Origin could start shuttling paying tourists into the edge of space for a few minutes of weightlessness as soon as 2018.

Naturally, this will require launch tests using live humans, and those will begin in 2017.

Blue Origin will eventually launch its space tourists in groups of six, and it plans to eventually conduct up to 100 launches per year. Most rocket companies only conduct up to a dozen launches per year, but Bezos believes that “you never get really great at something you do 10, 12 times a year” (via NYTimes).  

Related: What is SpaceX?

Besides space tourism, Blue Origin plans to sell its rocket engines to other companies, such as United Launch Alliance.

Bezos and his team also showed off the new BE-4 engine, which will begin testing later this year.

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