Blue Origin conducts successful New Shepard tourism test flight [video]

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin succeeded in its latest test flight of its New Shepard capsule on Tuesday 13 October 2020. The rocket will one day take tourists to space; however, a timeline hasn’t been confirmed as yet.

“The #NewShepard crew capsule has successfully touched down in the West Texas desert. We are headed out to retrieve customer payloads and @ClubforFuture postcards”.

Blue Origin, Twitter

Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule

According to AFP, the New Shepard capsule, “which was propelled over the boundary of space by a small reusable launch vehicle that returned to land vertically, will one day carry up to six passengers”.

During Tuesday’s test flight, the New Shepard capsule reached an altitude of 106 kilometres above sea level before descending to Earth. Parachutes ensured a safe landing in the desert of West Texas.

Watch: Blue Origin’s successful test flight

“Blue Origin previously unveiled the capsule’s interior: six seats with horizontal backrests, placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin with swish lighting. But neither company has announced the start of commercial flights, which have been expected for years”.


Blue Origin origins

Jeff Bezos first unveiled the Blue Moon lunar lander back in May 2019; which was designed to deliver science payloads, moon rovers and potentially even astronauts to the moon surface.

In October 2019, Bezos announced that Blue Origin would be team up with three other legacy space companies to leverage existing technologies and sped up the development of lunar landers.

These landers would be needed to take humans to and from the moon’s surface. The companies – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper – will pool their resources to attempt to produce a lunar landing system for NASA.

Watch: More from Blue Origin

New Shephard crew capsule tour

What is Project Artemis?

Back in March 2019, Mike Pence put out a challenge to NASA to shorten the timeline for project Artemis. Artemis planned to perform its first lunar landing 2028. However, Pence called for NASA to move the launch to 2024.

In addition, the call has put those companies tendering to provide the crafts needed to facilitate the mission under acute time pressure. As a result, Bezos announced that they will be joining forces with legacy space companies.

Northrop Grumman this year launch NROL-129 atop Minotaur IV rocket to deploy four National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellites in orbit. Due to the “secure nature” of the mission, staff were unable to provide information.

However, SpaceFlight Insider reported that the “Minotaur family of rockets make use of surplus rocket motors which were retired from prior military programs as a result of various treaties and changes in the defence landscape”.

“In the case of NROL-129’s Minotaur IV, the first three (of four) stages are former Peacekeeper missile system components, which would have been cast and cured in Utah between 1988 and 1990; the fourth stage is powered by an Orion 38 (38-inch diameter) motor.”

Also read – Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to team up with three other legacy space companies Protection Status

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