Blue Origin tests new rocket in launch

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

The New Shepard suborbital vehicle is scheduled to launch from Blue Origin's West Texas test site Wednesday at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT; 0900 local Texas time).

The ninth New Shepard test took place on July 18 at Blue Origin's facilities in West Texas, with the new generation rocket blasting off from its launchpad at 11 a.m. ET. The spacecraft reached an altitude of 350,000 feet (106,680 meters), which was about five percent higher than previous New Shepard test flights. The booster and capsule - both repeat flyers - landed successfully. Bezos dubbed the dummy "Mannequin Skywalker" because even the richest man in modern history is a nerd. Many customers and the aerospace industry have been very keen on knowing the cost of a ticket on Blue Origin's New Shepard space vehicle to find out whether or not it is affordable enough to generate a strong demand on space tourism. Bezos, its founder, heads up Amazon and was announced as the richest man in modern history, being valued at $US150 billion ($200 billion).

Blue Origin's Successful Separation Test. This is high enough for the people to experience a few moments of weightlessness.

Sir Richard Branson founder of Virgin Galactic with his Spaceship Two and White Knight Two carrier aircraft

Today's launch should be pretty routine for the space startup, but nothing is ever guaranteed when you're working with rockets. The New Glenn could launch on its maiden flight from Cape Canaveral by the end of 2020.

One employee said that within weeks, Blue Origin will do the first test in space of its pod escape system, which will propel the flight crew to safety if the booster explodes. Bezos has said the company's ultimate goal is to help get millions of people living and working in space. "We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic", the firm said.

In a tweet, Blue Origin called the launch a "high-altitude escape motor test". "Anyone predicting dates is guessing".




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