On Sunday, Blue Origin flew an un-crewed New Shepard fully reusable rocket vehicle to 107 kilometers (351,000 feet or 66.5 miles), well above the internationally recognized border to space. Before reaching apogee the system split into two parts – the booster and the crew capsule. The booster used its rocket engine to make a soft touchdown on a landing pad while the crew capsule floated safely to the ground with parachutes.
This was the 2nd test flight for this particular vehicle, the third version of the New Shepard design, and the eighth flight overall. The company, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, plans to carry out several more test flights to prepare for flying employees by the end of the year. If all goes well, in 2019 they will begin making routine flights to space with six public ticket-owners on board at a time. (Sign up here to receive ticket info when it becomes available.) In the meantime, they will be flying a diverse manifest of scientific and technology experiment payloads for paying customers.
Highlights of the New Shepard flight:
A replay of the complete live webcast: