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Bezos' Blue Origin conducts successful test flight for tourism rocket

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility - HO / ©AFP
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, at New Shepard's West Texas launch facility - HO / ©AFP

(AFP)

Blue Origin, the US space company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, succeeded Tuesday in its latest test flight of its rocket aimed at one day taking tourists to space, even as the date of the first crewed launch remains unclear.

The New Shepard capsule, which was propelled over the boundary of space by a small reusable launch vehicle that returned to land vertically, will one day carry up to six passengers.

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It attained an altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers) above sea level, before descending back to the surface using parachutes and landing in a cloud of dust in the desert of West Texas.

Its total flight time was 10 minutes and nine seconds.

Blue Origin previously unveiled the capsule’s interior: six seats with horizontal backrests, placed next to large portholes, in a futuristic cabin with swish lighting. 

Multiple cameras help immortalize the few minutes the tourists experience weightlessness while taking in the Earth’s curvature.

This summer, competitor Virgin Galactic showed off the interior of its own vessel which is one day supposed to take private passengers to the boundaries of space for a few minutes.

But neither company has announced the start of commercial flights, which have been expected for years.

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