Blue Origin: Fly To Space!

Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, is a revolutionary space tourism company making significant strides in bringing the dream of space travel to reality. Alongside its focus on civilian space tourism, Blue Origin is also contributing to governmental space initiatives, including The Reef—a project to create a new space destination as a successor to the International Space Station (ISS), which is set to be retired in 2028. This article delves into Blue Origin’s unique approach to space tourism and explores the transformative experiences it offers.

Blue Origin

The New Shepard Experience

Blue Origin’s primary vehicle for space tourism is the New Shepard rocket, named after astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. New Shepard is a fully reusable suborbital rocket designed for human flight. It features a pressurized crew capsule that can carry up to six passengers, providing an unforgettable journey past the Kármán line, the internationally recognized boundary of space 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Earth. For reference, the Kármán line is located approximately 275,000 ft above the earth’s surface, almost 10 times the altitude of a commercial airliner!

Blue Origin

Passengers aboard New Shepard experience a brief but profound period of weightlessness and have the opportunity to witness breathtaking views of Earth through the capsule’s large windows, which make up one-third of the capsule’s surface area. The journey, lasting approximately 11 minutes, offers a unique perspective on our planet, forever changing the way travelers view the world.

Blue Origin vs. Virgin Galactic

While both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are at the forefront of space tourism, their approaches differ significantly. Virgin Galactic utilizes a spaceplane called VSS Unity, which is launched from a carrier aircraft at high altitude before igniting its rocket motor to reach space. In contrast, Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a vertical-launch rocket that ascends directly from the ground.

Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane offers a longer duration of weightlessness, around four minutes, compared to Blue Origin’s three minutes. However, Blue Origin’s New Shepard reaches a higher altitude, offering a more extended view of the Earth’s curvature and the thin blue line of its atmosphere. Both companies provide rigorous pre-flight training to ensure passenger safety and comfort, but Blue Origin’s fully automated flight system adds an extra layer of ease for its travelers.

Blue Origin

The Reef: Blue Origin's Ambitious Space Station

Looking beyond suborbital flights, Blue Origin is also working on The Reef, a commercial space station that aims to serve as an alternative to the ISS, which is set to be retired in 2028. The Reef is envisioned as a multi-purpose space destination, supporting scientific research, industrial manufacturing, and even space tourism. This project highlights Blue Origin’s commitment to creating a sustainable presence in space, extending its impact beyond brief suborbital flights.

The Reef will leverage Blue Origin’s advanced technologies and reusable spacecraft to offer an accessible and versatile platform in orbit. It aims to foster international cooperation and provide a venue for groundbreaking research and innovation, further cementing Blue Origin’s role as a leader in the next era of space exploration.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin is transforming space tourism with its innovative New Shepard rocket and visionary projects like The Reef. By providing unparalleled views of Earth from 100 kilometers above and planning for sustainable space habitats, Blue Origin is not just offering a thrilling adventure but also paving the way for a future where living and working in space is a reality. As it competes with Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin’s unique approach and ambitious goals continue to inspire and captivate the imaginations of aspiring astronauts worldwide.

Would you want to travel to space? And would you pick Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic?