Watch Blue Origin's 'Mannequin Skywalker' Test Crew Capsule 2.0 in Space
Blue Origin sent a mannequin into space on Tuesday, with the first test flight of the company’s Crew Capsule 2.0. As the company gears up to launch tourists into space in just over a year, “Mannequin Skywalker” may one day be remembered as a pioneer of commercial spaceflight. Despite the historic importance of the occasion, the dummy didn’t let the nerves get to them and sat perfectly still throughout the whole 11-minute test.
“Full video of Mannequin Skywalker’s ride to space,” founder Jeff Bezos said on his Twitter page Thursday, along with a link to the test flight footage. “Unlike him, you’ll be able to get out of your seat during the zero gee part of the flight.”
Crew Capsule 2.0 is a major step forward in the company’s efforts to bring space tourism to life. It has the “largest windows in space,” measuring 2.4 feet wide and 3.6 feet tall.
Lucky passengers will witness some dazzling sights on a trip expected to last around 10 minutes total. A booster will launch the capsule to around 250,000 feet above the Earth’s surface, at which point the booster will part ways and land vertically on a pad. The capsule will carry six people to the Kármán Line, around 62 miles above the Earth’s surface where the atmosphere ends, for a duration of five minutes before using two parachutes to land in Texas.
Space tourism is just one aspect of Blue Origin’s business. Amazon founder Bezos started the company in 2000, with the aim of becoming a major aerospace player. Like Elon Musk and SpaceX, Bezos wants to change commercial spaceflight by developing reusable rockets to bring costs down. Blue Origin is developing its own spacecraft, like the $2.5 billion New Glenn rocket, as well as placing its technology into other launch vehicles.
Blue Origin has an ambitious timeline for getting tourists into space. CEO Bob Smith told the National Space Council in October that the company plans its first tourist flight for early 2019. Of course, that is liable to slip — Bezos told reporters last year that they could expect flights to start in 2018.
“We will fly humans when we’re ready, and not a moment sooner,” the company told CNNMoney.