Blue Origin, the space tourism firm owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has successfully flown its reusable space tourism capsule for the first time.

The ‘Crew Capsule 2.0’ reached orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called Mannequin Skywalker, who ‘had a great ride’, according to Bezos.

The capsule’s roomy interior includes seats for six travellers, who will be treated to views from the ‘largest windows in space’ when the firm begins commercial flights.

Launching from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site, yesterday’s test featured the latest version of the firm’s reusable New Shepard rocket, its first flight in 14 months.

In October, Bezos said Blue Origin will take tourists into orbit ‘within the next 18 months’. 

Blue Origin, the space tourism firm owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has successfully flown its reusable space tourism passenger capsule for the first time. This image shows the capsule after it landed near the launch site in western Texas, with a test dummy pictured in the right window

Blue Origin, the space tourism firm owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has successfully flown its reusable space tourism passenger capsule for the first time. This image shows the capsule after it landed near the launch site in western Texas, with a test dummy pictured in the right window

HOW IT WORKS

The system consists of a pressurised crew capsule atop a reusable ‘New Shepard’ booster rocket.

The two vehicles launch together, accelerating for approximately two and a half minutes, before the engine cuts off.

The capsule then separates from the booster to coast quietly into space.

After a few minutes of free fall, the booster performs an autonomous rocket-powered vertical landing.

The passenger capsule lands softly under parachutes, both ready to be used again.

The company isn’t yet taking reservations or publishing its ticket prices, with would-be riders forced to wait until the firm completes its tests.

In a video of the launch, the New Shepard rocket is captured firing into orbit, disconnecting from the capsule, and then landing vertically back on the launch pad.

Shortly after this, the ‘Crew Capsule 2.0’ pod is seen floating back to the ground under two enormous parachutes before landing in the Texas desert at around 1 mile per hour (1.6 kph), according to Blue Origin.

At the end of the video, the firm teased in big letters: ‘Ready to fly?’

In addition to the dummy, yesterday’s 10-minute test flight carried 12 commercial, research and educational payloads within the crew capsule, Blue Origin said.

The capsule offers 530 cubic feet (15 cubic metres) of space – large enough for passengers to float freely and turn weightless somersaults.

The include reclining black seats with blue piping, and seats emblazoned with the Blue Origin feather logo.

‘Today’s flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success,’ Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.

The 'Crew Capsule 2.0' reached orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called 'Mannequin Skywalker' (pictured), who 'had a great ride', according to Bezos

The 'Crew Capsule 2.0' reached orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called 'Mannequin Skywalker' (pictured), who 'had a great ride', according to Bezos

The ‘Crew Capsule 2.0’ reached orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called ‘Mannequin Skywalker’ (pictured), who ‘had a great ride’, according to Bezos

Launching from Blue Origin's West Texas Launch Site, yesterday's test featured the latest version of the firm's reusable New Shepard rocket (pictured), its first flight in 14 months

Launching from Blue Origin's West Texas Launch Site, yesterday's test featured the latest version of the firm's reusable New Shepard rocket (pictured), its first flight in 14 months

Launching from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site, yesterday’s test featured the latest version of the firm’s reusable New Shepard rocket (pictured), its first flight in 14 months

On Twitter, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wrote: '#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride.' Bezos is pictured above (right) inspecting the capsule after its flight

On Twitter, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wrote: '#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride.' Bezos is pictured above (right) inspecting the capsule after its flight

On Twitter, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wrote: ‘#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride.’ Bezos is pictured above (right) inspecting the capsule after its flight

BLUE ORIGIN’S LATEST TEST LAUNCH

Launching from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site, yesterday’s test was powered into orbit by the latest version of the firm’s reusable New Shepard rocket, its first flight in 14 months.

The suborbital New Shepard launch system consists of a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the planet.

The test was the New Shepard system’s seventh successful launch, and featured the rocket’s next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0.

The capsule reached orbit and returned to Earth with a test dummy strapped into it called ‘Mannequin Skywalker’, who ‘had a great ride’, according to Bezos.

In addition to the dummy, yesterday’s 10-minute test flight carried 12 commercial, research and educational payloads within the crew capsule, Blue Origin said. 

Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard launch system (pictured) consists of a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the planet

Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard launch system (pictured) consists of a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the planet

Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard launch system (pictured) consists of a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 100 kilometres (62 miles) above the planet

‘It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation crew capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program.’

On Twitter, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wrote: ‘#NewShepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He…



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