Blue Origin launches spacecraft higher than in prior attempts

Amazon creator Jeff Bezos has launched his New Shepherd rocket higher than previously

Camera Icon Amazon creator Jeff Bezos has launched his New Shepherd rocket higher than

Blue Origin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

For the first time Jeff Bezos' rocket company will send send its New Shepard rocket to its red line at the edge of space and then fire the escape motor on the capsule that will carry passengers.

Executives at the company, which was started by Bezos in 2000, said the company planned to launch test flights beginning next year, Reuters reported.

New Shepard is a rocket-capsule combo that Blue Origin is developing to take paying passengers and scientific experiments to suborbital space and back. Although it did not have any flight passengers yet, two of the flights have included "Mannequin Skywalker", its test dummy. On a standard mission, the craft separates from the rocket after engine cutoff and lands with the aid of parachutes. If this test goes well, Blue Origin's New Shepard program could become operational as early as this year.

But in comments to AFP, the company struck a more cautious note.

New Shepard has flown eight test missions to date, all of them uncrewed.

Sir Richard Branson founder of Virgin Galactic with his Spaceship Two and White Knight Two carrier aircraft
Blue Origin plans high-altitude escape test on suborbital launch Wednesday

But Virgin Galactic, founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, is also racing to be the first - with both companies using radically different technology.

Blue Origin's Successful Separation Test. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 350,000 feet (106,680 meters), which was about five percent higher than previous New Shepard test flights.

For instance, NASA flew an experiment created to measure the conditions inside the crew capsule during the flight test, whereas Santa Fe company Solstar, which also had cargo on New Shepard's Mission 8, tested out its Wi-Fi access during the new mission.

The flight demonstration also included an experimental predictive platform from Purdue University and a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory-built system created to collect electromagnetic field measurements.

It's part of a safety system meant to save lives once space tourists and others climb aboard for suborbital hops.

Latest News