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Blue Origin launches 1st New Shepard spacecraft test flight in more than a year

Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle lifts off on a test flight in January 2016. The company launched a supposedly new variant of the New Shepard on Dec. 12, 2017, according to reports in the media and a Federal Aviation Administration launch license.

(Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle has taken to the air today (Dec. 12) for the first time in more than a year, according to reports in the media, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

New Shepard, a rocket-capsule combo, that Blue Origin is developing to take passengers and research payloads suborbital space — lifted off from the company’s test facility in West Texas, according to an FAA launch licensethat Geekwire noticed.

The Details are sketchy. Blue Origin, run by the billionaire Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has not released any information about the test. But the website Parabolic Arc reported via Twitter that the flight was a success, with Blue Origin to recover from both the booster and the capsule.

A New Shepard had not flown since October, 2016, when the vehicle has aced a test of the in-flight abort system. That suborbital mission was the fifth successful launch and the landing of the individual New Shepard vehicle over a period of 11 months.

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Blue Origin representatives said at the time that they plan to retire that the booster and the capsule, so that the vehicle flew today was supposedly a new on the uncrewed girl start.

New Shepard is designed to fly up to six passengers on brief trips to suborbital space. The booster will return to Earth for a vertical landing through engine burns, in much the same way as the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets do during orbital flights.

The unmanned New Shepard capsule, meanwhile, will land softly under a parachute. The capsule has the largest windows ever to fly in space, together with 530 cubic feet (15 cubic meters) of interior volume — enough for people to turn somersaults inside, Blue Origin representatives have said. The company has not disclosed how much a ticket to ride New Shepard will cost.

Today’s test flight, well what lucia saw some great things from the Blue Origin in the near future. The company said it plans to start commercial flights of the New Shepard soon, perhaps as early as next year.

Originally published on Space.com.

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