By: Earnest Jones | 12-13-2017 | News
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Bezos Test-Flies 6-Seater Capsule

In a day and age where space tourism sounds like a fantasy, Bezos is making headway in this lucrative front. Blue Origin managed to successfully fly its reusable space capsule for the first time.

Bezos said that the 'Crew Capsule 2.0' made its way to the orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called Mannequin Skywalker.

The firm’s reusable New Shepard rocket launched from Blue Origin's West Texas Launch Site for the first flight in 14 months. As soon as the company starts its commercial flights, tourists will occupy the capsule's interior which includes seats for six travelers, who will be treated to views from the 'largest windows in space'.

Back in October, Bezos said that Blue Origin will take tourists into orbit 'within the next 18 months'.

However, the firm is yet to take reservations or publish its ticket prices.

The launch footage shows the New Shepard rocket firing into orbit, disconnecting from the capsule, and then landing vertically back on the launch pad. The 'Crew Capsule 2.0' pod is seen floating back to the ground under two enormous parachutes before landing in the Texas desert at around 1 mile per hour (1.6 kph).

Aboard the capsule was the dummy and 12 commercial, research and educational payloads. The capsule offers 530 cubic feet (15 cubic metres) of space - large enough for passengers to float freely and turn weightless somersaults.

The interior has reclining black seats with blue piping, and seats emblazoned with the Blue Origin feather logo.

'Today's flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success,' Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.

'It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation crew capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program.'

Blue Origins founder Jeff Bezos wrote on twitter: '#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride.'

Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard launch system consists of a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the planet.

The crew members will be expected to take test flights next year. The pressurized capsule is held on top of the reusable booster rocket, the two launch together as they accelerate for approximately two and a half minutes before the engine separates.

The booster then separates from the capsule and after a few minutes of free fall, the booster performs an autonomous rocket-powered vertical landing, while the capsule lands softly under parachutes.


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