The New Shepard is a rocket manufactured by Blue Origin, an aerospace enterprise founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon. This rocket is destined for space tourism and is designed to take 6 persons in a suborbital flight, during which they reach 100 kilometres of altitude.
The capsule in which is found the crew has 6 seats, every one of which has a big window next to it to be able to look at the Earth’s sights. Moreover, from the altitude at which the capsule arrives the curvature of the Earth is visible.
Characteristics of the New Shepard
This rocket has a height of about 18 meters (60 feet) and is propelled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. This fuel is of high energy efficiency and doesn’t contaminate, because the only by-product of the combustion process is water vapour, without any carbon emissions.
The New Shepard is named after the NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to travel to space, in 1961, in a suborbital flight.
This rocket only performs suborbital flights, and it is for this reason that it has only one stage. Moreover, with the objective of reducing the environmental impact on the planet and drastically reducing the prices of space travel, the New Shepard is totally reusable, making it possible to carry out various missions with the same rocket.
The duration of the suborbital flight
In a typical flight, the New Shepard takes off vertically and soars for two minutes and a half, after which the main engine stops and the capsule separates from the rocket. After this, the passengers experiment weightlessness for 4 minutes and float through the capsule. Moreover, they are at a high enough altitude to be able to appreciate the curvature of the Earth.
After some minutes, the rocket re-enters the terrestrial atmosphere and uses an automatic system that enables a vertical landing on the Earth’s surface.
The capsule, after following its trajectory to enter the Earth another time, and, thanks to three parachutes, manages to land over the surface without any kind of problem.
In total, this suborbital flight that offers Blue Origin onboard the New Shepard lasts for 11 minutes, during which the crew is weightless for some minutes and can appreciate the magnificent views of the Earth at an altitude of 100 kilometres.