a first manned space flight in April?

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For several years, Jeff Bezos’ (Amazon) company Blue Origin has been planning to take tourists into space, just over 100 km above the Earth’s surface. These flights, which are to be operated aboard the New Shepard launcher, will allow customers to enjoy an exceptional view of our planet. However, the first of these thefts could be attempted as early as next April, according to CNBC.

On January 14, Blue Origin operated the fourteenth automatic flight test of its New Shepard pitcher from the Corn Ranch, Texas site. Called NS-14, this successful flight made it possible to test a brand new booster and an improved capsule in which future Blue Origin customers will stay. Among these notable improvements were a push-to-talk audio system, allowing the crew to talk to mission controllers, a new alert system panel integrated into each seat, padded wall coverings and noise reduction devices. . Air conditioning has also been added.

This flight, which lasted ten minutes and ten seconds (to be seen at the end of the article), was again a great success, allowingship the crew capsule to an altitude of 107 km, before the booster comes to land vertically on Earth (like in booster Falcon 9), followed by its capsule braked by parachutes.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard Launcher. Credit: Blue Origin

A first manned flight in April?

According to CNBC, Blue Origin reportedly intends to launch a new test flight within six weeks, or by the end of February, followed by a first manned flight six weeks later, in early April. However, this schedule has not been officially confirmed.

Ultimately, the company also plans to fly every six weeks or so. Of course, everything will depend on demand, but also on the performance of the New Shepard. As a reminder, the previous mission, NS-13, flew in October after being delayed for several weeks due to a power problem. She had also been attempted after a nine-month flight hiatus.

Finally, Blue Origin has yet to disclose the price for this flight in space, but it should probably be between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000. During the ascent, passengers will experience acceleration forces of 3G to 4G and up to 5G (G for gravity, editor’s note) during the descent, although these forces will not last more than ten seconds. In the meantime, travelers will experience between five and ten minutes of weightlessness, during which they will be able to appreciate the Earth through giant portholes to make the most of the spectacle.

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