Blue Origin launched its space tourism rocket New Shepard on a test flight Sunday (April 29). It carried a space capsule equipped with a dummy.
Thunderstorms delayed the launch. But after some several hours, New Shepard took off from the company’s Texas test facility. Thus, flying into space and nailing a rocket-assisted landing.
During the 10-minute flight, the capsule reached a record height of 107 kilometers, and both the booster and capsule landed safely.
The company is getting closer and closer to flying people on the suborbital tourism launch system. However, they have not released a price for the spaceflight experience yet.
In March 2016, Jeff Bezos said the price would be competitive with other suborbital space flights. Today, the only near-term competitor with Blue Origin in this market is Virgin Galactic, which has yet to reach space but sells tickets for $250,000.
New Shepard 2.0
Blue Origin designed the New Shepard 2.0 space capsule to fly 6 passengers on suborbital space tourism flights — trips that reach space but don’t orbit the Earth — and can also carry commercial payloads and experiments. The capsule has six large windows, thus, providing paying passengers with spectacular views of Earth from space.
The capsule carried a dummy astronaut and a handful of scientific experiments. The experiments test systems such as wi-fi and life-support for future space missions, as well as instruments designed to study distant stars and meteorites.
Mannequin Skywalker is ready for his 2nd mission on board New Shepard. He’s a little sensitive about being called a “dummy”, as he will be conducting astronaut telemetry and science studies – a very important job! pic.twitter.com/h2ncpGWaTi
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 28, 2018
This is the eighth test flight overall for the company’s New Shepard program. Also, this launch marked the second flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard 2.0 vehicle after a successful December 2017 test launch.
So, be ready for more New Shepard test flights in the coming months. If all goes well, Blue Origin could potentially begin launching people into on New Shepard this year, company representatives have said.
Thumbnail image credit: Blue Origin