Published: Sat, May 04, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company launches another test of its tourism spaceship

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company launches another test of its tourism spaceship

This time the payload will be greater, with a total of 38 experiments making their way on board, ranging from medical tech to art projects. "It's a fully reusable rocket, which means the entire system is recovered after each flight and then flown again". Blue Origin said earlier this year that it wants New Shepard to be open for business in 2019.

Nine of these 38 experiments were supported by NASA.

Blue Origin has built a huge rocket factory just outside the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to manufacture New Glenn boosters and is developing a launch pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket booster beat the capsule back to Earth, making a flawless tail-first landing on the cement landing pad.

Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, founded Blue Origin to develop sub-orbital and larger orbit-class boosters and spacecraft. During each launch, the booster climbs through the atmosphere, carrying the capsule beyond the edge of space - about 62 miles up.

New Shepard will help Blue Origin compete directly with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic in the suborbital space tourism market. If the capsule had been filled with space tourists, this would have been the time where they would have experienced zero gravity.

Payloads that went for the fiery ride included some cool experiments, including a 3D-printing experiment conducted by the University of Kentucky that aims to advance off-Earth manufacturing technology, NanoRocks' centrifuge that might allow researchers to collect biological data on suborbital rocket flights, and a Purdue University experiment created to improve deep-space spacecraft tanks' fuel measurements.

Despite that Blue Origin mission lasting mere minutes, the rocket reached a maximum altitude of 66 miles (107 km). "After staying for a few minutes in the space, both the booster and capsule fall back to Earth; the booster reignites its engine after around three minutes of fall, to land upright on the ground, while three parachutes lower the capsule gently to the surface", said, Sareen. Thanks to a previous flight on New Shepard, Dr. Cuttino has been able to evolve the technology and this flight will prove a near-final version that could one day save lives in space.

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