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Jeff Bezos’ private space company Blue Origin will launch the fourteenth test flight of its New Shepard rocket booster and capsule, a system designed to get people on short trips to the edge of space.
The mission has no passengers on board, although the capsule on top of the rocket is designed to carry up to six people for future flights. Known as the NS-14, this mission also marks the first flight of a new rocket booster and improved crew capsule. The rocket booster and capsule used by Blue Origin’s NS-13 mission in October are still operational. The company says they are now dedicated to flying payloads for zero gravity research.
The NS-14’s new capsule offers several upgrades to the Blue Origin astronaut experience.
“The upgrades include improvements to environmental features such as acoustics and temperature control in the capsule, crew display panels, and speakers with a microphone and push-to-talk button on each seat. The mission will also test a range of astronaut communication and security alarm systems,” said the company in a blog post.
The inside of the newest New Shepard capsule
New Shepard is designed to take people off the edge of space on a journey, with the capsules reaching an altitude of more than 100 kilometers on previous test flights. The capsule spends up to 10 minutes in weightlessness before returning to Earth. The massive windows offer passengers a view.
Blue Origin noted that “all mission crews supporting this launch are applying strict social distancing and safety measures to reduce COVID-19 risks to staff, customers and the surrounding communities.”
Bezos is personally funding the development of Blue Origin by selling some of his shares on Amazon. While he has previously said that he sells about $ 1 billion in Amazon stock annually to fund the space company, Bezos recently increased his sales of Amazon stock, valued at more than $ 10 billion in 2020. Dollars paid out.