Blue Origin, the company founded by American billionaire Jeff Bezos, has successfully tested the New Shepard reusable launch vehicle with an upgraded capsule for astronauts. The suborbital spaceflight rocket was launched on January 14 at 12:18 PM PT from West Texas.
This was the 14th mission for the New Shepard rocket, but this time, they launched an upgraded version of the rocket with an updated capsule for passengers for the first time. Both elements of the New Shepard launch system (capsule and rocket) are reusable.
The company noted that the test of the system went perfectly, and the New Shepard capsule reached a maximum height of 106,832 meters.
The revamped six-seat capsule has improved acoustics and internal temperature control, as well as crew display panels, communications, and emergency notifications.
The company noted that the successful test of the updated capsule will be the first step towards launches with a crew on board the rocket. The company plans to send people to the Moon in 2024 to create a colony and develop infrastructure on its surface.