It was the second time this year that the rocket had launched successfully as Blue Origin prepares for what it hopes one day will be missions carrying paying passengers. The demonstration took place at Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas. (Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)
Blue Origin’s stand-in astronauts were then driven to the crew chambers to rehearse recovery procedures such as hatch opening and exiting the capsule.
The practice run dubbed “NS-15” was the company’s 15th test flight since 2015. The company promises the vehicle will carry passengers to space “soon.”
New Shepard is designed to carry six passengers and has large windows to allow the people aboard to see out. The vehicle is named for Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space in 1961.
After decades as a government monopoly, human space flight may soon become a private venture too. SpaceX is planning to carry the first all-civilian crew to space, perhaps before the end of this year. Virgin Galactic, founded by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, also is working to conduct suborbital flights to the edge of space.
“There will be many players in this human endeavor to go to space to benefit Earth,” Blue Origin says on its website. “We will go about this step by step because it is an illusion that skipping steps gets us there faster. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”