For all the recent Live SpaceX releases of its Falcon Heavy reusable rockets, broadband satellites and NASA TESS planetary search satellite were I would forgive him for assuming that he is the only major developer of commercial spaces that is worth mentioning.
But Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his space flight company, Blue Origin, want to remind us that the space race to send tourists into the stratosphere is still strong.
This Sunday, April 29 at 9:30 a.m. EST (6:30 am PST / 2:30 pm BST / 11:30 pm AEST), Blue Origin will launch its reusable rocket New Shepard into space for the eighth time, and the first time this year.
Preparations for the eighth New Shepard test flight are underway as we continue our progress towards manned space flight. Currently the goal is Sunday 29/04 with a start window that opens at 830 a.m. CDT. Livestream information to come. @BlueOrigin #GradatimFerociter pic.twitter.com/zAYpAGWB8CApril 27, 2018
The new Shepard is a vertical vertical takeoff rocket (VTVL) that, like SpaceX's reusable rockets, launches a charge into space from the suborbit before landing. through reinforcement engines, all in only about 10 minutes.
So far, the payload has been a crew capsule for human passengers and light payloads.
The latest launch of Blue Origin in December 2017 introduced its new Crew Capsule 2.0, enhanced with larger windows to offer passengers a better view of the action.
The test passenger, a mannequin dubbed "Mannequin Skywalker," was filmed during the last trip when the New Shepard traveled about 322,000 feet (98 kilometers) in the air.
While this trip will also not have a human crew in the Capsule, Blue Origin's director of security and mission assurance, former NASA astronaut Jeff Ashby, said Space News last December we could see such a team later this year.
"We are about a year away from human flights, depending on how the test program goes," Ashby said. "We have to do a lot of more tests, and we're going to fly some human test flights before we put people who pay in the rocket."
However, this flight will do carry payload lockers with "microgravity experiments" that will be activated once they leave the Earth's atmosphere. And once humans are allowed the rocket, they can perform "experiments lying" on the suborbit.
Two-day free shipping to the moon
Once New Shepard's manned commercial flights run smoothly, Blue Origin will turn its attention to New Glenn its huge reusable rocket capable of reaching land low orbit with a payload of 100,000 lb (45,000 kg). The company is planning its first test launch for the rocket in 2020.
Beyond this, Bezos wants to use his company's rockets towards the same goal as Elon Musk : a colonize the space .
"We must build permanent settlements at the poles of the moon, where we can get water and solar energy," Bezos said at the annual Apollo 11 Gala at the Kennedy Space Center last year.
"We know things about the moon that we did not know in the 60s and 70s, and with reusable rockets we can do it in an affordable way," he added. "We can achieve it today."
For now, Bezos is likely to expect the launch of this live rocket to prevent people from focusing on the recent price increase of Amazon Prime at $ 119. Bezos' announcement on Twitter led many disgruntled customers to jump on the attack.
Increasing our membership to $ 119! ?? April 27, 2018