Blue Origin's New Shepard taking off
Jeff Bezos' New Shepard reusable rocket had succeeded in making a controlled landing back to its original launch siteBlue Origin

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's announced that Blue Origin will start commercial sub-orbital space voyages as early as 2018. The company plans to build six reusable spacecraft that will make dozens of trips a year.

Bezos, who is ambitious about space tourism, expects commercial operations to begin in the next two years "if everything goes well". According to the Amazon CEO, the New Shepard rocket will carry six passengers up to 62 miles above the Earth. The spacecraft passengers will get to see other planets and galaxies and experience "a few minutes of weightlessness". The company is in the process of building and testing six such vehicles that will make dozens of trips in a year.

Blue Origin is not just another venture for Bezos, but his childhood dream. In a closed doors press briefing at the aerospace company headquarters in Kent, Washington, Bezos said on 8 March, "I never expected to have the resources to start a space company. I won a lottery ticket called Amazon.com."

The billionaire entrepreneur started Blue Origin in 2000, but had kept it under the wraps until recently, when its rocket made a safe trip to Earth in November last year after touching the sub-orbit of the Earth (altitude of 100.5km).

However, Blue Origin isn't the first company to do so. Elon Musks' SpaceX and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic are also exploring space tourism.