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Thu, Mar 10, 2016

Blue Origin May Conduct First Manned Test Flights In 2017

Founder Jeff Bezos Says Thousands Of People Have Expressed Interest

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos says he expects to conduct his first manned test flights as early as next year, and carrying passengers as early as 2018. He says thousands of people have said they are interested in eventually flying with the company.

Bezos (pictured in file photo) made the comments during a rare media tour of the Blue Origin facility in Kent, WA, about 17 miles south of Seattle, according to a report from the Associated Press. And while Blue Origin is not yet taking reservations or deposits for eventual space tourism flights, it does plan to generate revenue building a new rocket engine for The United Launch Alliance that will replace the Russian RD-180 that ULA currently uses to boost U.S. satellites into space.

Bezos told the member of the media on the tour that he has been dreaming of building rockets and traveling in space since he was five, and "I only pursue things that I am passionate about."

Bezos said there would be plenty of rocket-building work to go around as society seeks to move off planet Earth. He said his goal is to perfect the reusable rocket technology to fly as many as 100 suborbital flights a year with safety as the top priority.

He said he is also working towards a goal of decreasing the cost of launches by making the booster reusable, which could put a project like building a colony on Mars feasible. "What I know you cannot afford is throwing the hardware away," he told reporters.

(Image from file)

FMI: www.blueorigin.com

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