Looking to start space-tourism flights in 2018 that he predicts will open the floodgates for a new breed of entrepreneurs, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said in some years he has personally invested up to $1 billion to further those goals.
Flanked by a New Shepard rocket featuring the telltale scorch marks of multiple flights, Mr. Bezos appeared before a gaggle of reporters during a conference here Wednesday to lay out his vision for Blue Origin LLC, the company he founded more than a decade ago to lower launch costs and make reusable rockets a reality.
He said he was “hopeful” that Blue Origin will begin offering trips for paying customers next year, adding that “I’m super optimistic” there will be a large market for such 11-minute thrill rides in a fully automated capsule offering views of the earth from the edge of space. Blue Origin hasn’t yet set a price or begun marketing efforts.
But in his remarks, the often secretive Amazon chairman also laid out a much broader, longer-term vision of how Blue Origin’s accomplishments so far and its plans for the future are poised to usher in a “golden age of space exploration.”
Spurred by dramatic drops in the cost of access to space—which he predicted ultimately could be one-hundredth of current prices—he said “you will be living in a completely new world” that will “help open the gateway to this new generation of people” eager to start businesses involving space.