Blue Origin, the reusable rocket company, recently had its first successful test launch of its spaceship. The reusable New Shepard sub-orbital rocket was launched from west Texas on Tuesday with no crew for a short space trip before landing back on Earth. The successful flight of New Shepard rocket system, competitor of the SpaceX, marks the first time another rocket has flown since October 2016.
During those trials, the rocket successfully tested its in-flight abort system. Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement, “Today’s flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success. It marks the inaugural flight of our next generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program. Congratulations to the entire Blue Origin team on a job well done and to our payload customers that gathered important data on the suborbital environment. Gradatim Ferociter.”
Gradatim Ferociter is Latin for “Step by Step, ferociously” and the phrase serves as Blue Origin’s motto. After separating from the capsule, the booster headed back to earth and landed successfully. It moved its tail first and used its BE-3 main engine in order to slow down and steady itself during its return. The booster reached a speed of Mach 2.94 on the ascent and Mach 3.74 on the descent.
Then it set out its four legs and made a very neat and successful touchdown on Blue Origin’s circular landing pads. The booster controlled the speed to travel just 6.75 mph on the descent before it touched down. According to the company, the flight lasted a total of 10 minutes and 6 seconds after initial liftoff.
The capsule was carrying 12 payloads from various customers around the world. One of the payloads included student artwork from a middle school in Colorado and an Arduino Nanocircuit board complete with a sensor package programmed by middle school students.
The Blue Origin New Shepard capsule will seat up to 6 passengers comfortably. It is one of the biggest volume capsules comfortably built. Each New Shepard capsule comes in a 530 feet cubed. On their ‘space tourism’ trip the passengers will be able to see earth through a very large window built for optimal viewing. These are the largest window ever build in a space rocket.
“Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall. It also included 12 commercial, research and education payloads onboard.”
Passengers can also experience times of weightlessness during suborbital trips around the earth. Owner, tech magnate and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted that the test dummy had a great ride.
Blue Origin has given estimates as early as next year for the trips. However, no official word has been given as to when the New Shepard capsules will be available to enjoy and what will it cost for each trip.