Blue origin Just taken another step towards human space flight.
The company is run by the founder of Amazon.com. Jeff BezosLaunched the first upgrade. New Shepard spaceship For astronauts, RSS First Step on a suborbital test flight not pulled out of West Texas today (Jan. 14).
“The success of this flight brings us one step closer to flying astronauts,” said Blue Origin’s Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbit sales, during a live webcast. “There will be a lot of fun in 2021”
New Shepard releases at 12:18 p.m. EST. (1718 GMT) and two elements, a rocket and a capsule, both of which can be recycled shortly after. The booster descended for a power-driven vertical touchdown in the designated landing zone near the launch pad, then the capsule fell softly under the parachute not far away, causing hairs of dirt in the The desert came out about 10 minutes after it was lifted.
The New Shepard capsule has a maximum height of 350,827 feet (106,932 meters) along Blue Origin, rising about 66 miles (107 kilometers) above the 62 miles (100 km) space border.
“Everything seemed perfect today,” Cornell said.
Related: Blue Origin’s stunning NS-11 New Shepard test flight in photos
This test flight is the 14th flight overall for the New Shepard program, a special flight with both brand-new boosters and capsules. (Previous mission which Fly in October 2020It involves a New Shepherd that had flown six times earlier.) Blue Origin named the new capsule RSS First Step, with RSS stands for “Reusable Space Ship”.
This new capsule “Install upgrades for the astronaut experience when programming near human spaceflight,” a Blue Origin representative wrote yesterday (Jan. 13) in Description of the mission.
“The upgrade includes improvements to environmental features such as sound and temperature controls inside the capsule, a crew display panel and speakers with microphones and push-to-speak buttons at each seat,” they wrote. The safety of the astronauts too ”
The capsule had six additional seats, one of which is currently occupied by “Mannequin Skywalker, “The tool-loaded dummy flew in the previous New Shepard test mission.
Today’s mission still has more than 50,000 postcards, some in Mannequin Skywalker’s bags.Students around the world send postcards through Blue Origin’s non-profit organization. Club for the futureIt has also arranged such efforts on two previous New Shepard test flights.
Blue Origin is developing the New Shepard to carry people and payloads to sub-terrain and rear. So far, there have been several scientific experiments on the vehicle’s test mission, but New Shepard has yet to launch a person into space.
Blue Origin is not the only high-profile company in suborbital. Space tourism businessVirgin Galactic, part of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is developing a space plane called SpaceShipTwo to take paying customers to the final frontier.
The latest version of the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, also known as VSS Unity, made its way into space on two test flights in December 2018 and February 2019.Unity attempted a third space flight last month, but it was. It was destroyed by computer connection problems.A space plane and two pilots landed safely.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; Illustration by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life.Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.