Blue Origin launches six passengers to edge of space in supersonic flight

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin launched Thursday’s sixth New Shepard passenger flight with six space tourists in a supersonic sprint to the edge of space and back, completing minutes of weightlessness and 66 miles away The worldview is above West Texas.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket and capsule blasted off Thursday from the company’s launch site in West Texas, carrying an international crew of six on a 10-minute flight to the edge of space and back.

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As the spacecraft taxied to the highest point of its trajectory, microphones in the crew capsule captured the jubilant and amazed cries of passengers as they unbuckled their seat belts and began to float and marvel at the wonders of Earth far below and the deep black space above. .

“We’re doing it!” one shouted. “Oh my God!” the other gasped. “Look at that darkness,” someone exclaimed. One crew member offered a little advice: “Take it, take it!”

The flight began with a whirlwind of New Shepard’s single-stage rocket, which blasted off at 9:57 a.m. ET from Blue Origin’s flight facility in Van Horn, Texas, in a bright flamethrower. Directly above the blue sky exhaust.

On board: Anglo-American climber, Egyptian space enthusiast, Portuguese investor and adventurer, telecom executive turned restaurateur, engineer and co-founder of YouTube channel “Dude Perfect”.

The hydrogen-burning BE-3 first-stage engine lifted the New Shepard crew pod to a speed of 2,239 mph and a final altitude of 351,232 feet, well above U.S. and international standards for defining identifiable and interatmospheric “boundary”. space.

The capsule then flips over in an arc and falls back to Earth. Moments after the ship’s three main parachutes were deployed and inflated, a crew member joked loudly: “We’re not going to die!” and: “Our poor families!”

Mission duration, from launch to landing: 10 minutes 20 seconds.

Sara Sabry is a 29-year-old Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer living in Berlin during her Ph.D. In aerospace science, the length of flight is not as important as it symbolizes.

“When we dare to dream big, we achieve what was thought impossible, we push boundaries, write history and set new challenges for the future,” she told Space for Humanity, the group that sponsored her flight.

“I am very pleased that human space has provided me with this opportunity, and I am honored to represent Egypt in space for the first time. My ancestors have always dreamed big and achieved the impossible, and I hope to bring it back. This is just the beginning.”

Also on board: Coby Cotton, one of the five co-founders of “”perfect buddyone of the most subscribed sports channels on the internet; Portuguese investor Mario Ferreira; climber Vanessa O’Brien; engineer Clint Kelly III, an engineer with expertise in autonomous driving systems; and Steve Young, the former CEO of a major telecommunications company, who is now a A restaurant developer in Melbourne, Florida.

New Shepard Flight 22 crew (left to right): Sara Sabry, the first Egyptian to reach space, restaurateur Steve Young, “Dude Perfect” co-founder Coby Cotton, climber Vanessa O’Brien, engineer Clint Kelly III and Mario Ferreira, the first Portuguese man to fly in space.

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“The sale of the company brought in a lot of stupid money,” Young told Florida Today. “With stupid money, you can do stupid things. . . . I’ve always been a bit of a brag, slash show. What’s better than being able to say you went to space and your buddy couldn’t?”

Blue Origin did not discuss how much it would charge to fly on the New Shepard.but Quartz Report MoonDAO, a “decentralized autonomous organization” built on the Ethereum blockchain, paid $2,575,000 for two New Shepard seats, including Cotton. The second seat has not been assigned.

“Because of the transparency of the blockchain, we know it cost MoonDAO $2,575,000,” Quartz reported. “Some of that is transaction fees, but the figure suggests that a seat in New Shepard would cost $1.25 million.”

The NS-22 mission marks the 12th test flight of a commercial, non-government suborbital spaceflight, and the sixth for Blue Origin, which is Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic’s billionaire owner Richard Daniels. An early leader in a high-stakes rivalry between Bransons.

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The New Shepard booster, which completed its eighth flight, flew back on its own to a safe landing on the launch site’s landing pad.

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Branson won the commercial suborbital space race in 2018 when his company conducted its first test flight above 50 miles, the space boundary recognized by NASA and the FAA. Branson flying as a passenger On the company’s fourth flight in July 2021, the most recent, it joins two pilots and three other Virgin Galactic employees.

Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Wally Fink and Danish teenager Oliver Daiman take off Blue Origin’s first manned suborbital flight July 20, 2021, nine days after Branson’s launch.

Virgin Galactic has yet to announce a date for its next flight, but Blue Origin followed up on Bezos’s flight next month by launching a series of experiments on NASA’s uncrewed missions. Then, on October 13, 2021, William Shatner The three crew members launched on the company’s 18th flight and its second passenger launch.

This was followed by three more manned New Shepard flights on December 11, 2021, March 31 this year, and most recently, June 4.

Unlike Virgin Atlantic’s VSS Unity space plane, which is launched from an aircraft carrier and glides to a runway to land on a runway after a brief visit to the lower edge of space, Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a more traditional rocket and space shuttle cabin.

In just over two minutes, the single-stage booster propelled the capsule and its crew directly to an altitude of about 32 miles and a speed of about 2,200 mph, before the main engines shut down.

A few seconds later, at an altitude of about 45 miles, the crew capsule was released and could fly on its own.

As the reusable booster returned to land on a nearby pad, the crew pod continued on an unpowered ballistic trajectory upwards, reaching a maximum altitude of just over 65 miles three and a half minutes after takeoff.

The Federation of Aeronautics and Astronautics (FAI), an international body based in Switzerland that certifies aerospace records, considers an altitude of 100 kilometers, or 62 miles, to be the discernible dividing line between atmosphere and space.

NASA and the FAA say 50 miles is the point at which the wings and plane surfaces no longer have any influence on the vehicle’s motion, thus defining the starting point of “space”. Virgin Galactic uses this guideline, and Blue Origin complies with both.

After being released from the New Shepard rocket, passengers will experience about three minutes of weightlessness, enough time to unbuckle their seat belts and float in the cabin while admiring the view of Earth through six windows that are over three feet high and nearly two and a half feet high. Magnificent views wide.

Back in the lower atmosphere, the capsule quickly decelerated, briefly subjecting passengers to more than five times the normal gravity, before three large parachutes deployed, lowering the spacecraft for a gentle landing a few miles from the launch pad.

All of this seems like clockwork Thursday.

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