Blue Origin, the private space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, launched its passenger spaceship New Shepard on a test flight Sunday (April 29), carrying a dummy astronaut and experiments on their highest spaceflight yet.
The New Shepard 2.0 rocket and capsule, both of which have flown in space before, lifted off from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site at 1:06 p.m. EDT (1706 GMT). Despite several hours of delays (thunderstorms thwarted a 9:45 a.m. EDT launch target) and countdown holds for last-minute checks, the flight appeared to go flawlessly.
The New Shepard system is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle. The system consists of a pressurized capsule atop a booster.
The name New Shepard makes reference to the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts.
New Shepard 2.0 space capsule is designed to fly commercial payloads and up to 6 passengers on suborbital space flights for science and tourism. The capsule features giant windows to give future passengers a stunning view of their launch into space.