Blue Origin resumes space tourism flights

Blue Origin’s New Shepard took to the skies on Sunday for the first time in two years after pausing its space tourism operations following a rocket mishap in September 2022. This mission marks the seventh human flight for the New Shepard programme and the 25th in its history.

The program encountered a setback when a New Shepard rocket caught fire shortly after launch on September 12, 2022. The uncrewed capsule ejected in time, meaning astronauts would have been safe had they flown.

Among the six crew members selected for Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin New Shepard -25 (NS-25) mission is Gopichand Thotakura, an Indian-origin entrepreneur and pilot. The crew also includes former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, the first Black astronaut candidate in the United States.

Launched from the Launch Site One base in West Texas, the company announced the flight on social media. As the spacecraft surpassed the Karman Line, the internationally recognised boundary of space 62 miles (100 km) above sea level, passengers had the opportunity to marvel at Earth’s curvature and experience a few minutes of weightlessness, during which they could unbuckle their seats and even perform activities like jumping jacks.

Mission NS-25 marks the seventh human flight for the venture founded by Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos. Bezos envisions short excursions aboard the New Shepard suborbital craft as a precursor to larger aspirations, such as developing a heavy rocket and lunar lander.

Blue Origin resumes space tourism flights

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