Blue Origin, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ private space company launched New Shepherd booster from a launch pad near Van Horn, West Texas in another test flight on Sunday before humans climb onboard the spacecraft.
The hydrogen-fuelled New Shepherd 2.0 and capsule lifted off the Blue Origin’s launch site at 12:06 p.m. CDT (1:06 p.m. GMT), just a few seconds after its BE-3 main engine was ignited for a pre-launch check.
During a launch webcast, Ariane Cornell of Blue Origin said, “Another spectacular test mission. Everything looks nominal from here.”
After the launch, Cornell said that the New Shepherd was launched to target an altitude of 105,913 meters. That is almost 66 miles, which is slightly higher than the typical target of 62 miles of the company.
After a successful December test launch last year, the Sunday’s launch of the New Shepherd 2.0 marks the second flight of the vehicle and is the eighth flight overall for Blue Origin’s New Shepherd program. The previous version of the New Shepherd launched a series of mission in the years 2015 and 2016 before it was retired.
The New Shepherd’s test flight last for about 10 minutes, 19 seconds from liftoff to landing. After Just after launching, the New Shepherd capsule was released from the booster. While the patron returned to the launch site where it made a vertical landing, the tablet fell back on Earth a few moments later. The capsule descended with its three parachutes and fired retrorockets to cushion the landing.
The New Shepherd 2.0 space capsule is designed to fly off six space tourists on brief suborbital space flights and carry commercial experiments and payloads. The tablet comprises of 6 large windows to let the passengers get a broad view of Earth from the space. However, the company has not yet announced as to how much per ticket to fly on New Shepherd will cost.
Just like the December 2017 test flight, this year also a dummy astronaut, nicknamed as ‘Mannequin Skywalker’ was strapped onto the crew capsule passenger seat along with a series of technology experiments and customers science. The capsule was also loaded with a variety of experiments which includes instrumentation provided by NASA to help measure pressure, acceleration, acoustics and other factors along with some test components that will be used for the space agency Orion’s spacecraft.
In the coming months, more of New Shepherd test flights are expected to take place. And if all goes well then the company may begin launching people into space on New Shepherd by this year, the representations of the company said.