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Yahoo Finance’s Ines Ferre breaks down Blue Origin’s second successful spaceflight and the outlook on modern space tourism.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: At 90 years old, William Shatner became the oldest person to reach space today. The "Star Trek" actor and three others completed a Blue Origin flight this morning. And Yahoo Finance's Ines Ferre here with all the details. Sort of brings new meaning to "beam me up, Scotty," Ines.
INES FERRE: It sure does, Alexis. We're really watching the infancy, the baby steps of the start of space tourism with this mission and the recent ones that we've seen. So this is the second mission for Blue Origin's New Shepard that had passengers on it. You saw the first one in July with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, and also the founder of Amazon. This flight was fully autonomous, no pilot. It's a suborbital flight going beyond more than 60 miles above Earth. Bezos greeted the passengers when they landed. There was champagne flowing.
Shatner going into space is truly significant, not just because William Shatner was the oldest person to go into space, but because he's also an icon for space enthusiasts. His reaction after the flight was so compelling, so emotional, saying that everyone in the world needs to do this. Take a listen.
WILLIAM SHATNER: This comforter of blue that we have around, we think, oh, it's blue sky. And then suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, as though you rip off a sheet off of you when you're asleep. And you're looking into blackness, into black ugliness. And you look down. There's the blue down there and the black up there. And it's just, there is Mother Earth, comfort. And there is-- is there death? I don't know. Is that death? Is that the way death is? Whoop, and it's gone. Jesus.
INES FERRE: And Alexis, I mean, I got to think that as more people go on these suborbital missions, on these space flights, that that their descriptions of what they experience will really sort of increase that enthusiasm that people have for space exploration. Right now, we don't know how much the tickets are for Blue Origin. So William Shatner did not pay for his ticket. And Audrey Powers, who's a VP of Blue Origin, she did not pay for-- to go on the mission. But the other two passengers did pay.
And we don't know how much those tickets are. We do know that Virgin Galactic's tickets are $450,000 apiece. In some areas of the country, that's worth two homes. But those ticket prices need to come down in order for people like you and me to be able to go on those flights. So the question is, how long will it take for that cost to come down, for this to become something regular so that more people can take part in space tourism? Because right now, it's millionaires, it's billionaires that get to go. But when will you and I be able to go on these flights? And that remains to be seen.
We did do a Twitter poll on Yahoo Finance asking people when they thought that those tickets would become more affordable. And about 38% said anywhere between 10 and 20 years from now, 44% said not in this lifetime. So not a lot of people think that they'll be able to go on one of those flights. But the fact that William Shatner was on it, I think this also raised a lot of visibility for the mission as well.
ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Yeah, I think we have to live vicariously through William Shatner. Hard to believe he's 90 years old. He's getting around just great. May we all be able to do that and live such a charmed life. Thanks so much for bringing us that report, Ines Ferre.