Blue Origin: A third manned space flight for Jeff Bezos’ company
Steph Deschamps / December 12, 2021
Never two without three. A rocket of Blue Origin carried out this Saturday a brief mission, taking six passengers in space, including Laura Shepard Churchley who is the daughter of the first American to have crossed, in 1961, the ultimate frontier. It was the third manned flight of the space company of billionaire Jeff Bezos, who had himself made the trip during the first launch in July.
The rocket took off at 9:01 am local time from Texas for a flight that will last a few minutes.
This is the first time that the New Shepard rocket capsule, named after American space pioneer Alan Shepard, has operated at full capacity. The previous flights had so far only counted four passengers. Also on board was an American celebrity, television presenter and former professional American soccer player Michael Strahan, and four passengers who paid for the trip: businessmen Dylan Taylor and Evan Dick, and a father and child, Lane and Cameron Bess, 23. The fare is not known.
They were in space for only a short time, with Blue Origin's suborbital flights lasting only about 11 minutes in total from launch to landing.
The rocket takes off vertically and at about 75 km of altitude, the capsule separates from the launcher, continuing its trajectory until it reaches more than 100 km -- the Karman line, which marks the beginning of space according to the international convention. The passengers can detach themselves from their seats, float a few moments in weightlessness, and admire the curvature of the Earth through very large windows. The launcher automatically returns to land on a runway, while the capsule begins a free fall to return to Earth, before being braked by parachutes, then retrofuses.
Alan Shepard made a 15-minute flight in space on May 5, 1961, 23 days after the historic flight of Soviet Yuri Gagarin, who was the first human in space. Alan Shepard is also the fifth of the twelve men to have walked on the moon. He died in 1998.