ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The world’s richest man and three fellow passengers are celebrating a successful flight to the edge of space.
The launch happened early Tuesday morning and many in the astronomy world are wondering what this trip means for the future of space tourism, including local experts.
An eleven-minute trip to the edge of space. Longer than most amusement park rides and a possible look into the future of passenger trips in space.
“It’s the beginning of a limited sort of commercial service for people who are very wealthy and want to take a short hop into space,” said Michael Richmond, RIT professor school of physics and astronomy.
Four crew members were aboard the rocket, including the oldest person to go to space and the richest, Jeff Bezos himself.
Many national and local experts are comparing the Blue Origin launch to the creation of the airline industry, noting that the venture is purely for commercial purposes.
“As far as I know, there are no plans to put any scientific payload on the rockets moreover even if there was, the flights are so short and they’re so bumpy since they have people inside moving around that it’s hard to imagine a good project for some sort of telescope,” said Richmond.
After the successful launch, Bezo’s company Blue Origin plans to offer more rides to space. The company has yet to release a ticket price, but with close to $100 million in sales, the views from space will only be seen by the wealthy for now.
“I would guess that in 2-3 years there might be 4 or 5 or 6 launches per year, systems like this,” said Richmond. “But if it were to go well then in 10 years prices might possibly come down somewhat and it might make it easier for people who are only really wealthy instead of absurdly wealthy to go up on such surfaces.”
The passenger flight happened on the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing.