Blue Origin has successfully completed its fourth space tourism mission

The six passengers, including a Blue Origin engineer and five paying customers, boarded the New Shepard capsule Thursday just after sunrise at the company’s launch facilities in West Texas. Powered by a 60-foot rocket, they flew at more than three times the speed of sound, or more than 2,000 miles per hour. Their capsule jumped across the Karman Line at an altitude of 100 kilometers (or 62 miles), which is It is widely recognized as the height at which outer space begins. At the height of the flight, they experienced weightlessness for a few minutes, and outside their window were sweeping views of the earth.

It is not clear how much the trip cost the five paying customers. Blue Origin hasn’t publicly revealed a fixed price point for each seat, though they auctioned off a ticket for $28 million. But this was to ride a seat next to Bezos himself, and Auction winner It didn’t end up going. (he is Scheduled to fly later this yearhowever.) Blue Origin’s direct competitor, Virgin Galactic, is currently selling seats for $450,000, up from its previous price of around $250,000.

This trip was scheduled to include Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, but pulled out of the mission after Blue Origin announced a schedule change earlier this month. The company indicated the need for additional ground tests on the New Shepard missile as a reason for the delay.

Gary Lay, who has been with Blue Origin for 18 years and holds several patents related to the design of the New Shepard rocket, flew Davidson’s place and was the only customer who didn’t pay for the flight. Among his crewmates was Lay Marty Allen, an investor and Former CEO of Party Supply Store; Jim Kitchen, businessman and business professor; George Nield Former Co-Director for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Mark Hagel, Ann Orlando real estate developerand his wife, Sharon Hagel, who founded a non-profit organization focused on space.

The fully autonomous New Shepard passenger capsule deployed plumes of parachutes after diving back into the thickest part of Earth’s atmosphere and descended with a puff of sand in the Texas desert.

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What does all this mean?

space business Largely led by SpaceX – It’s booming. from the building Cheaper missiles and design New uses for satellites to imagine futuristic space hotelsindustry attracted record levels of investment, according to data compiled by the analytics company space capital.
After years of quiet development, the Blue Origin space tourism rocket took off for the first time last year with Bezos, flying alongside Space Society heroine Wally Funk, as well as his brother Mark Bezos and a. Customer pays.
Since then, Blue Origin has made headlines to fly other well-known names on two consecutive flights, including the Star Trek star. William Shatner And good morning host America Michael Strahan.

Strahan wrote a message for passengers on Thursday’s flight that was read to them by ground control: “This is the best flight you can ever take, but it’s too short.”

Blue Origin’s goal is to make these suborbital spaceflights a mainstay of pop culture, enabling a 10-minute supersonic entertainment flight for invited guests — who were hitherto celebrities — and anyone else who could afford it.

Blue Origin is the first company to begin offering regular sub-orbital space tourism flights. Its main competitor, Virgin Galactic, had made its first manned flight – which included its founder Richard Branson – before Bezos’ flight last July. But Virgin Galactic did not follow up that flight with another manned flight after it was later revealed that the company’s space plane had moved off its scheduled flight path. The company now says it is undergoing unrelated technical updates and may return to the journey later this year.

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SpaceX is the only private company to offer flights into orbit. The company completed its first-ever civilian flight into orbit last September, taking the billionaire and three select colleagues on a three-day excursion. Next week, the company plans to take four paying customers on a trip to the International Space Station, which orbits about 200 miles above Earth.

Blue Origin has plans to build a rocket powerful enough to reach orbit, called New Glenn. In view of the file News that Russia may stop selling missile engines to the United StatesThese plans are more urgent than ever. The Blue Origin engines it plans to use in New Glenn, BE-4, will be used in an upcoming launch vehicle designed by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing responsible for critical US national security launches. ULA is currently based on Russian RD-180 engines. Its new missile with US-made BE-4 engines is scheduled to be launched for the first time this year.

Blue Origin did not have specific updates to the BE-4 when reached for comment.

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