Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), has updated its new timeline at the National Space Council on Thursday. Blue Origin now says that it will be taking tourists into space within 18 months or by April 2019.
Rob Meyerson, President and Director of Blue Origin, said last year that the first launch with passengers would be in 2018 and that the company would be testing flights in 2017.
“Within the next 18 months we’re going to be launching humans into space,” Blue Origin CEO, Bob Smith, said during the National Space Council meeting Thursday, according to CNN, “These won't be astronauts...these will be everyday citizens."
The company is expanding its New Glenn rocket to use for the commercial flights, but are planning to use it for government missions as well pending on regulatory certifications.
“Our New Glenn launch vehicle will be more capable than existing launch vehicles flying today, and can be used not only for human spaceflight and other commercial missions, but also for civil and national security payloads,” Smith said. “Therefore, we are in early discussions with the national security community and NASA about how to certify New Glenn for their use.”
Blue Origin’s plan to take tourists into space by 2019 would be a year behind SpaceX’s timeline. SpaceX has plans to take two tourists around the moon in 2018.
Although Blue Origin and SpaceX have the same concept of going into space, the two companies aren’t completely the same in their approaches.
Blue Origin currently only has plans to launch passengers to the edge between the Earth’s atmosphere and space where customers can experience weightlessness and the view of space for an 11-minute thrill, according to CNN.
But it still not confirmed how much the pricing would be for the flights. Virgin Galactic, who offers the same service as Blue Origin, charges $250,000 up front for flights.
It was also reported by Reuters, that Bezos sells approximately $1 billion worth of his Amazon shares annually in order to keep funding Blue Origin’s projects.