Jeff Bezos announced that his Blue Origin aerospace company had successfully tested on Tuesday its new Crew Capsule 2.0, pushing the company whose motto is gradatim ferociter (“step by step, ferociously”) a lot closer to sending human tourists to space by in a little more than a year.
“New Shepard had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today. Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride,” Bezos declared on Twitter on Tuesday night.
Blue Origin, started by the Amazon founder in 2000, has the goal of becoming a major aerospace company that builds rocket engines for outside clients in addition to its own massive rockets, like the $2.5 billion New Glenn.
To fund this development though, it wants to make money in the space tourism business, taking people to the Kármán Line — 100 kilometers above the Earth, on the border between the Earth’s atmosphere and space — for about five minutes in a crew capsule, before the capsule parachutes back down.
Graphics in the video tout the “largest windows in space” for the new crew capsule — not unlike how cars are marketed. But, if you’re paying what’s probably a large amount of money to go to space, you don’t want to view the experience through a porthole.
The crew capsule will carry six people, and, notably, the new crew capsule that was tested on Tuesday had literal windows — unlike the “windows” on the old test capsule, which were definitely painted on.
At about 250,000 feet, the capsule separates from the booster and ascends to the edge of the atmosphere, before floating back to Earth. The rocket booster lands vertically on a pad, and a few minutes later, the crew capsule arrives, landing at 1 mph in the Texas dust, with the aid of two parachutes.
Pretty cool stuff, but no prices have been announced for the space trip, which lasts a little more than ten minutes.
In October, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said that the company is now eyeing 2019 for its first tourist flight.
The video Bezos shared on his Twitter account is slick — as are most of Blue Origin’s other videos — but it’s nothing compared to the epic promotional video the company released a few years ago that shows what a space tourism trip might look like:
After a busy 2015 and 2016, Blue Origin has had a relatively quiet year, but it looks like the updates from the company could start coming more often as it moves toward its deadline for the first space tourism trip.
And while Bezos is no Elon Musk when it comes to the rate of his tweets, given the progress Blue Origin is making in this video, you can bet he’ll be sharing updates more often.