- Jeff Bezos’Blue Origin continues to test its New Shepard reusable rocket.
- Like Elon Musk’sSpaceX, the rocket is reusable, and designed to land upright back on Earth after each flight.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Reporter: And a smooth, controlled hover back home, and touchdown.
Abby Tang: This is Blue Origin’s New Shepard Passenger Rocket.
It’s designed to take up to six space tourists for short antigravity experiences at the Kármán line.
That’s the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. This is the company’s 12th test flight, and it’s 11th successful landing. This is the third version of the vehicle.
But other New Shepard Rockets have been launched into space and back. This particular rocket now holds the record for the New Shepard rocket with the most trips to space, six. But all those test flights have been without passengers, as Blue Origin is still making sure the vehicle is ready for them.
The company originally said it would be ready to carry its first crew in 2019, but has slowed those plans as tests continue. The fourth version of the rocket, the one that’s meant to hold people, hasn’t flown since May as the company has been completing more safety tests. Most recent tests have included a crash test dummy nicknamed Mannequin Skywalker. It’s equipped with sensors that measure how future customers could be affected by the flight.
Blue Origin was founded in 2000 by Billionaire Jeff Bezos. With the mission of lowering the costs of and increasing access to space travel. It plans to accomplish this by leaning into reusability. Traditional rockets are a one time only kinda deal. But New Shepard was designed with a vertical takeoff, vertical landing system that allows the company to reuse parts of the rocket with minimal refurbishment. Here’s how it works. New Shepard is made up of two main components: the rocket and the capsule. The rocket propels the vehicle, and the capsule holds the crew. When it takes off, it reaches a height of 62 miles or a 100 kilometers. At this point, the capsule separates from the rocket. Both pieces will return to Earth. The rocket using its engines to propel itself back down, and the capsule using parachutes.
Even though New Shepard hasn’t carried any people yet, the vehicle has been used to carry various payloads for companies, universities, and NASA. This launch includes a NASA space garbage recycling experiment playfully named Oscar, a Columbia University student’s experiment studying the effects of weightlessness on cells, and even the winning entries of an Art in Space contest hosted by the band OK Go for middle and high school students. With a likely 2020 date for the first manned launch, Blue Origin has yet to start selling tickets to the public or announce a price point. For now, the company’s focus is on making sure New Shepard is safe and ready for humankind’s next giant leap.
Reporter: And touchdown, just beautiful.
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