Blue Origin

Blue Origin CEO: We’re taking tourists to space within 18 months

A Blue Origin rocket could take tourists to space by April 2019.

Bob Smith, the CEO of the space outfit founded by Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) mastermind Jeff Bezos, mentioned the new timeline during the first meeting of the newly revamped National Space Council on Thursday.

That’s a later date than Blue Origin had touted in the past. Just a year ago, the company’s president, Rob Meyerson, said the first launch with passengers would be sometime in 2018.

In an emailed statement to CNNMoney on Thursday, Blue Origin insisted its “internal dates have not shifted,” but added, “we will fly humans when we’re ready, and not a moment sooner.”

The National Space Council, which has been revived under the Trump administration after a two-decade hiatus, includes Vice President Mike Pence and various other government officials. Its goal is to help coordinate space exploration and national security efforts by the public and private sectors.

Smith briefly spoke to the panel about Blue Origin’s plans to take paying customers to space.

“Within the next 18 months we’re going to be launching humans into space,” he said. “These won’t be astronauts…these will be everyday citizens.”

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