Blue Origin breaches space boundary with unmanned flight of suborbital passenger carrier rocket

by | Nov 25, 2015 | Personal spaceflight, Space tourism, Suborbital, Technology | 0 comments

On 23 November 2015, the Jeff Bezos-led Blue Origin company made a significant advance in its suborbital test programme when its New Shepard space vehicle successfully breached 100km of space by flying to 100.5km (329,839 feet), and returning to Earth to land back at the company’s launch site in West Texas. The vehicle, on which six astronauts/space tourists will eventually travel, reached a velocity of Mach 3.72. It is fully reusable.

New Shepard was named in honour of Alan Shepard, who was the first Mercury astronaut to travel into space on a suborbital flight and who later walked on the Moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

The vehicle consists of two elements: a crew capsule in which the astronauts ride and a rocket booster powered by a single American-made BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine. At lift-off, the BE-3 delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust. Following powered flight, the crew capsule, which Blue Origin points out has the largest windows ever to fly into space, separates from the booster and coasts into space, providing several minutes of weightlessness.

As the crew capsule descended, it re-entered the atmosphere before deploying a drogue parachute at 20,045 feet and then three main parachutes for a landing. Meanwhile, the booster descended under guided flight to the landing pad. Just prior to landing, the booster re-ignited its BE-3 engine at 4,896 feet, decelerating the vehicle to 4.4 mph for a gentle, powered vertical landing, enabling vehicle reuse.

Comment by David Todd: The Blue Origin enterprise has stolen the lead in the space tourism market from Virgin Galactic’s troubled air-launched Space Ship Two programme, which has yet to achieve a flight above 100km.


About Seradata

Seradata produces the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaspacewalkDGAaviation weekInternational Space StationaressoyuzIGTRocket LabBlue OriginBeidouawardsStarlinkspaceSatellite broadcastingAirbus DSrussiaboeingmoonOneWebCargo Return VehicleISROmarsblogresearchspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegaSESthales alenia spacetourismbarack obamaconstellationfiguresnorthspaceflightIntelsatnode 2fundedRaymond Lygo2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiosuborbitaltestmissiledocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbitinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122ElectronSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringAriane 5Northrop Grummanmissile defensenewspapercotsgalileospace tourismflight2010Long March 4CspaceportExpress AMU 1buildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttlescaled compositesIntelsat 23European Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosnew yorkrulesAriane 6hanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhoucongressMojaveboldennew shepardLong March 2CInmarsatOrbital ATKcnesiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsUS Air ForceSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSdarpaprotonTalulah RileyElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CNorth KoreaeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor

Stay Informed with Seradata

Stay informed on the latest news, insights, and more from Seradata by signing up for our newsletter.