Replay – New Shepard First Human Flight

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Replay - New Shepard First Human Flight
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Space Missions

On July 20, Blue Origin successfully completed New Shepard’s first human flight with four private citizens onboard.

Who were the passengers on board the NS-16 mission and what was their experience like?

On July 20th, 2021, space tourism took a giant leap forward when Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft carried its first human crew to the edge of space. The flight, which was named “NS-16,” lasted a total of just over ten minutes, but it marked an historic achievement for both Blue Origin and the field of commercial spaceflight.

The New Shepard spacecraft, which was designed and built by Blue Origin, is a reusable suborbital vehicle that is capable of carrying up to six passengers to an altitude of over 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Earth’s surface. On board the NS-16 mission were four individuals, including Blue Origin’s founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, and 18-year old student Oliver Daemen.

The journey began at 9:12 AM Eastern Time, when the New Shepard spacecraft took off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. After clearing the launch tower, the spacecraft accelerated rapidly, reaching a maximum speed of Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) as it ascended towards space.

About three minutes into the flight, the New Shepard spacecraft’s main rocket engine shut off, signaling the start of the craft’s coast phase. During this time, the spacecraft continued to climb to its maximum altitude of 106 kilometers while experiencing weightlessness in the cabin.

After a few minutes of weightlessness, the New Shepard spacecraft began its descent back to Earth. The craft’s crew capsule, which was designed to provide a comfortable and safe experience for the passengers, descended under parachutes and touched down gently in the Texas desert.

The NS-16 mission was a major step forward for Blue Origin, which has been striving to make space tourism a reality for over a decade. The company has said that it plans to begin selling tickets for future New Shepard flights later this year, with prices expected to start at around $200,000 per person.

Overall, the New Shepard first human flight was an impressive demonstration of the capabilities of commercial spaceflight. It showcased the ability of private companies to design, build, and operate advanced spacecraft, and it highlighted the growing interest in space tourism among the general public. As technology continues to advance and more companies enter this field, it seems likely that space tourism will become an increasingly common and accessible activity in the years to come.

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