Blue Origin flies its Crew Capsule 2.0 for the first time


Blue Origin flies its Crew Capsule 2.0 for the first time

The seventh flight of the company's New Shepard suborbital spacecraft at the company's West Texas launch site Tuesday carried a test dummy called Mannequin Skywalker, equipped with sensors.

Space News on Tuesday first reported the company had filed a request with the FAA and said based on past experience it suggests Blue Origin is preparing to test its New Shepard suborbital vehicle.

The successful flight from the SpaceX competitor marks the first time a New Shepard rocket system has flown since October 2016. For today's test, though, Blue Origin didn't announce its plans to fly New Shepard and at the time of press still hasn't publicly confirmed the test. The 60-foot-tall rocket carried crew capsule 2.0 on its first flight, to an altitude of about 322,000 feet, or 61 miles, in about two and a half minutes.

On Tuesday, Blue Origin finally put the revamped New Shepard system to the test. Blue Origin said it was planning "spaceflight operations" there and would cancel the NOTAM after the operations were complete.

Gradatim Ferociter is Latin for "Step by step, ferociously", and the phrase serves as Blue Origin's motto.

But despite the huge height that the craft, which has huge 2.4 x 3.6 ft windows, managed to reach, it made it safely back to earth during the trial in Texas.

The booster had a maximum descent velocity of Mach 3.74. The booster, too, made a controlled landing.

In total, the flight only lasted 10 minutes and 6 seconds after initial liftoff, according to the company.

The New Shepard is created to provide passengers with a short, weightless experience during an 11-minute flight to space. The capsule features the biggest windows ever to fly in space, along with 530 cubic feet (15 cubic meters) of interior volume - enough for folks to turn somersaults inside, Blue Origin representatives have said. On their "space tourism" trip, the passengers will see Earth through large windows built for optimal viewing.

The successful test in West Texas, it means it is a step closer to getting tourists with the ultimate case wanderlust into space, thanks to the company, owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos.

According to the company, the capsule carried "Mannequin Skywalker", an instrumented test dummy to determine how the flight would affect human participants, as well as 12 commercial, research, and education payloads.

No official word yet as to when the New Shepard capsules will be available to enjoy.