Blue Origin will likely not launch a crewed mission in 2019 as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos previously said.
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said Wednesday during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco that the space technology company is “in the position where we actually tapped the breaks a little bit.” He said that Blue Origin is taking extra safety precautions and plans to launch two more unmanned flights that must “go really well” before it sends people to space.
“I’m never going to give up pressure on the team,” Smith said. But it’s highly unlikely to happen “because 2019 is coming to a close.”
In September 2018, Bezos said during a conference in Washington, D.C. that Blue Origin was planning for a 2019 launch date for a crewed mission.
Smith said that Blue Origin was “still targeting 2021” for a test commercial flight that it hopes will kickstart the company’s commercial space travel business.
But brace yourself for the price of admission. Tickets are going to be very expensive because “any new technology is never cheap,” Smith said.
“It will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for people to go,” Smith said. “We will get it down for middle-class people to go eventually.”
Smith also discussed the possibility that people may one day live in space and why he believes that living on space stations as opposed to other planets may be more practical, at least in the (far-off) near-term.
“Living on the moon, Mars, any of those surfaces, it’s not a very good environment,” Smith said.
A “manufactured world” that has an appealing gravity and atmosphere that’s suitable for humans, however, “could be a very good place to live.” He said this futuristic space station would likely have to be close to Earth’s radius, “because people want to go back to the old country.”
“That seems the most reasonable to me,” Smith said.