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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Launches Spacecraft Higher Than Ever

He’s named his rockets after NASA’s original Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth

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Blue-Origin
FILE - The lobby of space venture Blue Origin features a replica of the Earth, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. On Wednesday, the company sent a capsule to an altitude of 74 miles. (VOA)

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket company shot a capsule higher into space Wednesday than it’s ever done before.

The New Shepard rocket blasted off from West Texas on the company’s latest test flight. Once the booster separated, the capsule’s escape motor fired, lifting the spacecraft to an altitude of 389,846 feet. That’s 74 miles or 119 kilometers.

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

Wednesday’s passenger was Mannequin Skywalker, an instrumented dummy in a blue flight suit that’s flown before, plus science experiments.

Jeff-Bezo
FILE – Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 5, 2017. (VOA)

The booster and capsule, both repeat fliers, landed successfully. It was the ninth test flight and lasted 11 minutes.

“Crew Capsule looks great even after it was pushed hard by the escape test. Astronauts would have had an exhilarating ride and safe landing,” Bezos said in a tweet. “Great engineering and the lucky boots worked again.”

Blue Origin has yet to announce when it will start selling tickets or how much flights will cost. Launch commentator Ariane Cornell promised it would be soon. “It’s coming,” she said.

Also Read: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Space Rides Said to Cost $200K or More

Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, aims to send people and payloads into orbit from Cape Canaveral. Those missions will rely on the bigger, more powerful New Glenn rocket still under development.

He’s named his rockets after NASA’s original Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth. (VOA)

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NASA’s Experiment Launched Into Test Flight By Blue Origin

Wednesday’s flight lasted just over 10 minutes, with the capsule reaching 66 miles high, or 107 kilometers, well within the accepted boundary of space.

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Blue-Origin
FILE - The lobby of space venture Blue Origin features a replica of the Earth, March 8, 2016, in Kent, Wash. On Wednesday, the company sent a capsule to an altitude of 74 miles. (VOA)

Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, has launched NASA experiments into space on a brief test flight.

The New Shepard rocket blasted off Wednesday from West Texas, hoisting a capsule containing the experiments. The eight experiments were exposed to a few minutes of weightlessness, before the capsule parachuted down. The rocket also landed successfully, completing its fourth spaceflight.

Jeff-Bezo
FILE – Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos addresses the media about the New Shepard rocket booster in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 5, 2017. (VOA)

This was Blue Origin’s 10th test flight, all precursors to launching passengers by year’s end. The capsules have six windows, one for each customer. Blue Origin isn’t taking reservations just yet. Instead, the Kent, Washington, company is focusing on brief research flights.

Also Read: Partial Shutdown of US Delays Space Missions, But NASA Not Grounded

Wednesday’s flight lasted just over 10 minutes, with the capsule reaching 66 miles high, or 107 kilometers, well within the accepted boundary of space.

Bezos is the founder of Amazon. (VOA)