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On April 28, 2001, Dennis Tito, a wealthy businessman, paid US$20 million for a seat on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to be the first tourist to visit the International Space Station. Only seven civilians have followed suit in the 20 years since, but that number is poised to double in the next 12 months alone.
Only 569 people had ever been into space, she said, adding that "we're about to change that dramatically." But she declined to say when - or if - Bezos, a lifelong space enthusiast and currently the world's richest person, will take a trip on New Shepard.
Though these prices are high, it is worth considering that Dennis Tito’s $20 million tickets in 2001 could potentially pay for 100 flights on Blue Origin soon. The experience of viewing the Earth from space, though, may prove to be priceless for a whole new generation of space explorers. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, respective leaders of SpaceX and Blue Origin, began their own ventures in the early 2000s.
Its zero-gravity experience is anchored by its SpaceShipTwo plane, and the company has ambitious plans to offer point-to-point travel between far-flung cities at near-space altitudes. Earlier this year, SpaceX also announced plans to launch three private passengers to the International Space Station next January. The three men are paying $55 million each to spend eight days at the orbiting outpost, according to SpaceX.
Blue Origin, billionaire Jeff Bezos' rocket company, said on Wednesday it is targeting July 20 for its first suborbital sightseeing trip on its New Shepard spacecraft, a landmark moment in a competition to usher in a new era of private commercial space travel. The capsule features six observation windows Blue Origin says are nearly three times as tall as those on a Boeing 747 jetliner and the largest ever used in space.
Blue Origin also said it will offer one seat on the first flight to the winning bidder of a five-week online auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the space firm's foundation.