Hold on tight and hold it: Jeff Bezos says no potty breaks on Blue Origin space trips

Jeff Bezos with Blue Origin New Shepard crew capsule mock-up
Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos takes questions in front of Blue Origin’s mock-up for the New Shepard spaceship’s crew capsule. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Are you worried about having to pee while you’re flying on Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship? Or getting sick? Billionaire founder Jeff Bezos has a word of advice: Fuhgeddaboudit.

During Wednesday’s visit to the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Bezos handled the standard questions about, um, bodily needs while in the confines of the suborbital spaceship that Blue Origin is developing.

Those questions have been addressed before, but perhaps not quite as authoritatively (or humorously). Watch this video, and then we’ll sum up answers to all the burning questions that arose:

  • What if I get queasy? Getting sick to your stomach can be a problem on zero-G airplane flights like NASA’s “Vomit Comet,” but motion sickness typically doesn’t come up until you’ve gone through several rounds of zero-G. Blue Origin’s suborbital space ride lasts only 11 minutes, with a single four-minute dose of weightlessness. “You’re going to be fine,” Bezos said.

  • What if I have to use the bathroom in flight? Go before you go. “Listen, if you have to pee in 11 minutes, you got problems,” Bezos said. You may have to hold it for more than 11 minutes, though, since passengers will board the spaceship a half-hour before launch.

  • How much training will I need? “It shouldn’t be more than a day of training,” Bezos said. “You have to know how to strap yourself in, and a few other things.” The current plan calls for New Shepard to be flown autonomously, so there won’t be any pilot on board. Back in January, Blue Origin’s Nicholas Patrick said the passengers would probably be trained to use onboard emergency equipment.

  • Where do I buy my ticket? “We’ll probably start taking down payments and selling tickets when we’re closer to commercial operations,” Bezos said. When the flight test program is finished, “then we’ll know when our first dates will be, and that’s probably a good time to start selling tickets … I’m hopeful, by the way, that that could still be 2018.” He hasn’t yet decided on the price (but you can sign up for early access to pricing information and tickets).

Bezos wrapped up the news conference by saying that he enjoyed the “fun questions” – and that he was willing to revisit some of the murkier issues.

“If it does turn out to be a problem, we’ll figure out how to cram a bathroom in there,” he said.

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