After successfully launching and landing its reusable rocket twice, Blue Origin is now planning to do the first ever manned test mission flights by 2017, as confirmed by Blue Origin founder and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The announcement of the company came during a tour of the project's research and development site near Seattle, Associated Press via Yahoo! reported.
To Bezos, it does not matter if they are going to be the first private company to offer space travel to the masses; safety is still their top priority right now. It is also part of their goal to reduce the cost of space launches by making space rockets reusable.
Speaking to New York Times during the same tour, he reiterated, "You can do the steps quickly, but you can't skip any steps."
If their plan to send people for test flights in 2017 goes successful, Bezos hopes to begin sending tourists via their flights to outer space the next year. He revealed that "thousands" of people had already expressed their interest in buying their own tickets to leave the Earth for a while. The company, though, has not started taking bookings yet.
In terms of finances, Bezos remains tight-lipped. When asked about how much money he had invested into this venture, he candidly replied, "Let's just say it's a lot."
While he started Blue Origin in 2000, it is only in 2005 that he began rocket development in earnest, he revealed. "I only pursue things that I am passionate about," he said, as he admitted that he had been dreaming of space travel since he was five years old.
"I never expected to have the resources to start a space company. I won a lottery ticket called Amazon.com," he added.
For now, the company is still refining its rocket technology and getting their first test flights ready. When all has gone well, he said that as many as 100 suborbital flights could leave off Earth annually and they would be launching off to space from the company's other site in West Texas.