Blue Origin flies its Crew Capsule 2.0 for the first time

Blue Origin aces sixth flight test with updated New Shepard rocket

Blue Origin Launches 1st New Shepard Spaceship Test Flight in Over a Year

The new capsule comes with "the largest windows in space" to offer the best views for those potential space tourists-they measure 2.4 feet wide and 3.6 feet tall.

However, that first test did not result in the recovery of the booster because of a loss of pressure event in the booster's hydraulic system.

The New Shepard booster lands on the pad in West Texas after a successful Mission 7.

After this second full-scale test and before the third, the New Shepard booster from the second test underwent a solo, non-capsule re-flight on January 22, 2016.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, launched a reusable New Shepard sub-orbital rocket from the company's west Texas launch site Tuesday, boosting an unpiloted crew capsule out of the dense lower atmosphere for a brief foray into space before a parachute descent to Earth. The Shepard test flight was kept secret until 11 p.m EST, well after the successful launch and landing. It did not immediately release any data from the test dummy sensors.

Assuming it doesn't get delayed by any legal requirements, Blue Origin hopes to send people into space by early 2019, though there's still no word on how much tickets might cost.

A New Shepard hadn't flown since October 2016, when the vehicle aced a test of its in-flight abort system. However, it continued to fly and then successfully landed, along with the crew capsule, which was the primary goal of the test.

Also, it's unclear what Blue Origin's strategy will be for viewing these tests.

While those latter tests were webcast by Blue Origin, the company opted to keep their return to New Shepard testing out of the media spotlight. The video also provided additional details on the upgrades.

Space News on Tuesday first reported the company had filed a request with the FAA and said based on past experience it suggests Blue Origin is preparing to test its New Shepard suborbital vehicle.

Today's test flight may well presage some big things from Blue Origin in the near future.

"Today's flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success".

While Elon Musk's SpaceX has its sights on the grand colonization of Mars, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin's ambitions are a bit more down to Earth, nearly literally. And it has just taken one step closer to that dream.

A dedication ceremony for the huge factory on the Space Coast could occur before the end of the year.

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