Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is About To Test its 'New Shepard' Spacecraft in a Rocket Launch
Which is why Bezos entered the space race when he founded the aerospace and spaceflight company Blue Origin. While most of Blue Origin's goals involve shorter flights to send astronauts and/or rich tourists into Earth's orbit and back, the company has developed an impressive suborbital rocket-capsule combo collectively known as New Shepard.
The rocket already has already been through seven launches, and it will be undergoing an eighth during the company's first rocket launch of 2018 this coming Sunday, as the Amazon founder just announced through Twitter. Naturally, there will be a livestream for anybody who enjoys watching rocket launches (and if you're on this website, there's a good chance you do).
Launch preparations are underway for New Shepard's 8th test flight, as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight. Currently targeting Sunday 4/29 with launch window opening up at 830am CDT. Livestream info to come. @BlueOrigin #GradatimFerociter pic.twitter.com/zAYpAGWB8C— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 27, 2018
The cargo will mostly be scientific in nature, although Blue Origin is hoping to use live astronauts by the end of the year, which would be a feat if they pull it off - not even its competitor SpaceX has sent humans into space during rocket launches, something typically in the realm of space agencies and not private companies.
The most recent launch was notable for launching a dummy named Mannequin Skywalker into space, to see how a human might fare during the launch. But Skywalker did handle his trip in New Shepard's capsule quite well, so it's not difficult to imagine Blue Origin sending up real humans once they've done the many, many safety checks they would need to run first.
Unlike its competitors, Blue Origin hasn't shown much interest in sending rockets past Earth's orbit, and none of its rockets are currently designed to travel beyond the edge of our borders. Beyond their goal to launch tourists into space for cosmic prices, they've also been vying for military contracts, likely to launch U.S. satellites and the like into orbit.
Perhaps in the future, Bezos will show a greater interest in traveling farther than just Earth's orbit. Hey, maybe he'll even find some kryptonite for his next battle with Superman.