Private spaceflight company Blue Origin sent its suborbital New Shepard rocket into space earlier this week, its first test flight in more than a year and another stepping stone in Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space tourism ambitions. Blue Origin, funded by Bezos’ enormous e-commerce fortune, plans to use its New Shepard vehicle to send willing customers to space in early 2019. But that means graduating from unmanned test flights, of which it has done zero this year until the launch from its West Texas facility on Tuesday, to manned flights with test pilots and onward to commercial ones. Blue Origin still hasn’t talked about pricing for its tickets to space.
To test the viability of manned spaceflight aboard New Shepard, Blue Origin sent a mannequin it cleverly calls Mannequin Skywalker aboard the rocket. In a new video released today, viewers can watch the dummy go to space and back over the course of the 11-minute clip. We don’t get a good sense of what the weightlessness looks like, because the mannequin is strapped into its chair. But hopefully we get a better idea of what the ride will be like during future test launches.
Bezos also shared a video on Twitter of the company’s new landing pad robot, which of course it’s calling Blue2D2: