In the modern 21st century Space Race, there is a clear leader. SpaceX has captured the imagination of the public like nothing since the early days of the shuttle program, when people stopped their day to watch launches by the millions. The repeated success of SpaceX rockets to take off and then, amazingly, land safely to fly another day has mesmerized the public, giving the company a significant lead in the race to be the space transport and exploration company of the future.

But don’t count out the competition quite yet. Especially when that competition is helmed by Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos. His commercial space company, Blue Origin, may be lagging at present, but the company is working hard to make up lost ground, both in the commercial sense and in the hearts and minds of a newly-interested public.

Blue Origin recently celebrated the ninth flight of its New Shepard rocket, a signature event, though it did not manage to grab the attention of many similar SpaceX launches. What did make the news was one of the primary reasons for the flight. Blue Origin is working on its vehicle escape system in anticipation of the company’s first human space flight, a step many in the company believe is relatively imminent.

The flight ascended from the company’s West Texas test facility on a mission to determine how feasible it would be to carry passengers away to safety in the case of an in-flight emergency.

How soon does Blue Origin anticipate its ability to start booking commercial space flight? According to recent news reports, the company hopes to start taking tourists on “short space flights” as soon as next year… exciting news and an imminent deadline that should certainly fill headlines.

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Of course, Blue Origin is not the only company making similar promises. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic already has a signup list going for people interesting in being among the first civilians in space. A seat on one of those flights can be purchased for about $250,000. Blue Origin hasn’t released a price list quite yet, though the company did say its most recent flight was about more than just passenger safety.

According to a Blue Origin release, the flight also conducted a number of experiments, as well as testing the ability of accessing WiFi in space. The purveyor of those tests? A flight dummy the company calls “Mannequin Skywalker,” which, if not headlining a press release, is definitely a missed opportunity.

5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.