If the progress on the New Shepard mission series at the Blue Origin Company is anything to go by we will have passengers flying out to space in this year. This Sunday saw the successful launch of New Shepard 2.0 rocket and capsule from the launch site of the company in West Texas at about 1.06 p.m. EDT. Notwithstanding several hurdles in the form of thunderstorms, eleventh-hour checks the flight reached about 66 miles of target altitude without any glitches.
The flight clocked 10 minutes and 19 seconds from its lift-off to return. The booster landed smoothly on the launch site after separating perfectly from the New Shepard capsule. The capsule also returned to Earth after some minutes coming down with the help of parachutes and softening its fall with retro rockets.
The passenger load for suborbital tourism flights into space is restricted to 6 in addition to the carting of commercial payloads. With 6 huge windows to boast of the passengers can get broad views of beautiful Earth from space to form some treasured memories. However, the charge per passenger is yet to be decided by Blue Origin.
The capsule launched on Sunday included a dummy astronaut and also several payloads based on ongoing experiments at Johnson Space Center of NASA, European universities financed by German Aerospace Center and Solar’s ‘Schmitt Space Communicator’.
There will be several more test flights to go in the ensuing months. If things go smoothly, Blue Origin could very well foray passengers into space on to its New Shepard in this year. Alongside, the company is totally engaged in the development of a bigger rocket named New Glenn that will use Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as its launching site into orbit in 2020s. The heavier New Glenn can be reused as it ferries passengers into space.
It was announced during the webcast of Sunday’s launch mission that the first passengers of New Shepard will get first claim rights on spaceflights through the New Glenn but can do so only in the year 2020.
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