Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, said that on Tuesday an updated New Shepard booster launched, landed, and successfully deployed the unmanned Crew Capsule 2.0. It was the rocket company's first launch in 14 months.
The seventh mission for New Shepard launched midday from Blue Origin's facility in the desert of west Texas, north of Van Horn. CEO Bob Smith said in a statement the flight was "a tremendous success" for both the rocket and the capsule.
Bezos, who founded the company and invests $1 billion each year into Blue Origin from selling Amazon stock, sent out video of the launch and landing in a tweet.
@JeffBezos: #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. @BlueOrigin
New Shepard's booster — named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard — reached nearly 61 miles above sea level before the capsule separated. The booster than returned to land on a concrete pad, smoothly coming back to Earth at about 7 miles per hour.
The capsule, with a test dummy on board named "Mannequin Skywalker," touched down on the desert floor at 1 mile per hour. Bezos said the dummy, which gathered information through implanted instruments, "had a great ride." Also on board were 12 other payloads, which Blue Origin says were a mix of commercial, research and education. Space hardware builder NanoRacks said Wednesday that it integrated the payloads onto the rocket.