Blue Origin successfully lands booster and crew capsule

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The New Shepard rocket test launch was to test the vehicle escape motor which is created to propel the crew capsule away from the booster rocket.

Parachutes deploy to gently land the capsule, while the rocket reignites its engine to land upright on the ground.

The company plans to start selling tickets next year for passengers to take short flights just past the edge of space, where they would experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown.

Blue Origin has now tested its powerful escape system at low, mid level and high altitudes, building confidence the spacecraft and its eventual passengers can, in fact, survive a catastrophic in-fight booster failure. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. ET) from the company's West Texas launch site.

While testing with New Shepard continues, work on Blue Origin's next vehicle, the New Glenn is pressing on, albeit mainly away from the attention of the media.

The reusable New Shepard booster is created to take off from a launch pad, climb to the internationally-recognized boundary of space at an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers), and land nearby with rocket thrust and aerobrakes.

Booster landing
New Shepard’s reusable booster comes in for a landing

An employee at Blue Origin told Reuters the ticket prices will begin between $200,000 and $300,000. "We are really curious how microgravity affects the structure and properties of things, and we hope this flight will help us understand the science behind it", said James Yenbamroong, chief executive and founder of mu Space, in a preflight statement.

"We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic". "But we've got our eyes on the prize".

But if all goes well, she said, "it's going to be a sweet ride".

One payload, called "Fly My Stuff", included personal items supplied by company employees.

The test flight also carried 12 payloads and even a passenger - specifically an instrumented dummy brilliantly named "Mannequin Skywalker".

Blue Origin has completed a sprawling rocket factory near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to build New Glenn rockets and is developing a launch pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.