Blue Origin, a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation, announced yesterday that its New Shepard space vehicle safely returned to Earth, landing back at the launch site in West Texas after a text book take off.
New Shepard is a fully reusable space vehicle and is designed to carry six astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers – the internationally-recognized boundary of space. Named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard, it is the second test of the capsule and launch vehicle this year following a launch in April, putting the company in direct competition with SpaceX.
“Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission—soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four and a half feet from the centre of the pad,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin. To watch a video of the launch click here www.blueorigin.com
Once the vehicle is ready to take passengers onboard, crew members will ride in a capsule on top of the rocket, where the thrills of liftoff can be experienced as the vehicle is propelled into the atmosphere. During the ascent, astronauts will experience three times the force of gravity as the spacecraft accelerates towards the boundary.
Once the crew capsule separates from the booster and coasts into space, the astronauts can enjoy several minutes of weightlessness before the capsule descends and reenters the atmosphere. On the return to Earth, astronauts will experience about five times the force of gravity before the deployment of three main parachutes in preparation for landing. “Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again,” explains Bezos.