Jeff Bezos’ space startup Blue Origin just nailed an important test flight

Henrietta Brewer
May 4, 2019

In addition to the flight carrying the largest number of payloads to date, NS-11 was also the fifth recovery of the same booster and the eleventh successful mission aboard a New Shepard. The massive windows on the capsule allow up to six passengers to get an incredible view of space and Earth with their 10-minute journey to the edge of space. Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Blue Origin developed the New Shepard for the company's space tourism business.

The reusable spacecraft carried a whole mess of microgravity science experiments to the edge of space just after 6:32 a.m. PT before the (unoccupied) crew capsule and rocket booster separated from each other.

New Century Technology High School - A group of students from Huntsville, AL have designed an experiment to test temperature fluctuations in microgravity.


We are targeting the next launch of #NewShepard tomorrow May 2nd at 8:30 am CDT / 13:30 UTC.

Interestingly enough, New Shepard's objective isn't to only ferry science research: The rocket was built for carrying paying customers to space.

Keeping with the education theme, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative will also fly several payloads on this mission.


New Shepard hardware is produced at Blue Origin's headquarters in Kent, Wash., and shipped down to Texas for flight. If that tempo continues, and if Blue Origin truly intends to begin crewed flights by the end of the year, there can't be many more uncrewed practice runs left on the test schedule. If the capsule had been filled with space tourists, this would have been the time where they would have experienced zero gravity.

In the cargo hold of the New Shepard sit, among others, two projects that use zero gravity as a medium for works of art developed by the MIT Media Lab, an experiment to test temperature fluctuations in microgravity devised by students from Huntsville, Alabama, and even an experimental technology created to treat a collapsed lung in zero-G, the brainchild of Orbital Medicine. Its spaceship requires two pilots to fly.

Meanwhile, the Flow Boiling in Microgap Coolers experiment will, according to NASA, gather data on the "limitations of current cooling methods for miniaturized devices and electronics needed for technology payloads on space-bound missions". This project is in collaboration with MIT Media Lab Space Exploration.


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