A faultless. The first manned flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket went off without a hitch on Tuesday, a successful event that kicks off the tourist service of Jeff Bezos’ space company. Successful and highly scrutinized, since the founder of Amazon was one of the passengers, along with his brother and “best friend” Mark Bezos, the aviator emeritus Wally Funk and the young Dutch “bachelor” Oliver Daemen.
The launcher took off from the Van Horn, Texas launch pad at around 3:12 p.m. KST. As expected, everything then went very quickly. As it progressed, New Shepard separated from the capsule housing the four passengers. It was in this 15 cubic meter cabin that the crew then crossed the Kármán line, the symbolic border that separates the atmosphere from space, at an altitude of 100 km. In doing so, Wally Funk, 82, became the oldest astronaut in history and Oliver Daemen, 18, the youngest.
For lack of image from inside the capsule, spectators who followed the event live could hear the exclamations of its occupants, at the supposed moment of their passage in weightlessness. The reusable launcher, for its part, began its descent to land a stone’s throw from the firing point, before the capsule in turn returned to Earth, in free fall then slowed down by parachutes. She had hardly asked before Jeff Bezos already called the moment “the best day of [sa] life ”, testifying that he had a“ happy crew ”around him. Out of the ship, he was greeted with hugs and a champagne shower… In all, the experience only lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
“Everyone who has been in space has said that it has changed them and that they are stunned, stunned, by the Earth and its beauty, but also its fragility, and I completely agree,” said the Amazon founder at a press conference after his theft. The Earth “is a fragile little thing and when we move on this planet we do damage,” said Jeff Bezos. “It’s one thing to recognize it, but it’s another thing to see with your own eyes how fragile she really is. “
This space adventure comes nine days after the successful flight of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spacecraft, a first with which Blue Origin has sought to distinguish itself in recent days. The company now claims an ascent to 107 km, when Richard Branson’s mission reached 86 km.
Good player, the founder of Virgin Galactic congratulated the new astronauts on Twitter: “Well done (…). Impressive! Best wishes to the whole crew from me and the whole @virgingalactic team. As for Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX, he had wished them good luck the day before departure.
Blue Origin is now planning two more manned flights of its New Shepard by the end of the year, with the first expected in September or October. The ticket price is estimated at $ 200,000 (€ 168,625).