Blue Origin's Crew Capsule 2.0 successfully completes first test flight

The spaceflight lifted off at 11:59 am from the test site of the company located in West Texas, meeting a top altitude of about 100 kilometers with the highest speed during the ascent of Mach 2.94. The video that Bezos included with his tweet showed the New Shepard blasting off and rising above a wide-open spread of ranchland.

The launch was the first of its kind using an upgraded booster, and the capsule was outfitted with large windows that will provide an excellent view for space tourists.

The New Shepard rocket, named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard, landed back on the ground following the 10-minute suborbital flight.

The recent flight was the third New Shepard tail number to fly.

The New Shepard booster lands on the pad in West Texas after a successful Mission 7.


As the capsule plunges back towards the lower atmosphere, passengers will experience the opposite end of the weight spectrum, dealing with five times the gravity as they approach sea level and before the parachute deploys for a landing.

Importantly, the fourth test - and following fifth test - provided valuable, in-flight data and risk assessment for a single-parachute out scenario for New Shepard's capsule. Next year could see flights taking place with test pilots on board as preparation for the arrival of paying customers. Tuesday's successful test could allow "test passengers" to begin flying on the vehicle in the spring or summer of 2018.

While those latter tests were webcast by Blue Origin, the company opted to keep their return to New Shepard testing out of the media spotlight. "It marks the inaugural flight of our next generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program".

Chief executive officer of Blue Origin, Bob Smith said in a statement that, "Today's flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success". This launch is the company's seventh flight overall, and the sixth success in a row.

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