Whatever the reason, Bezos’ announcement was surprising. Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith defended the plan in a pre-flight briefing, saying that the last two test flights proved that all systems are ready and that everything that controls the spacecraft operates autonomously, so no manual practice is required. . “To be honest, we don’t see any value in doing things step by step,” he said, jumping directly to the ferocious part of the company’s motto. So there will be no human test flights, but high-risk maiden voyages with the boss, his brother, a man in his eighties and a teenager.
During the flight preparation phase, the company, which is usually shy about news, suddenly turned into an entertainment circle, posting glamorous videos and photos of the crew in bright blue jumpsuits. The initial plan to accommodate a small news team was abandoned like a booster rocket because the company invited dozens of reporters to its remote area in the West Texas Desert, where Bezos owns more than 300,000 acres. Of land, and even a mountain range.
At 7:25 Central Daylight Time, on the company’s launch pad, passengers climbed five steps and climbed the height of a 160-foot New Shepard reusable rocket in a fire-resistant “astronaut safe haven.” For a short stay inside, this is a tightly closed fire room that can be used in emergency evacuation. Then Bezos led the crew across a sky bridge—everyone would ring a silver ceremonial bell as they crossed—to the space capsule, which was located in New Shepard, like, well, Sex toysAt 7:34, they entered the hatch and fastened their seat belts. Fink posted a postcard of herself as a candidate for Mercury 13 on her window and plans to take a photo when she arrives in space. At 7:43, Blue Origin technicians closed the hatch and climbed down from the gantry. This is T minus 21 minutes.
Sixty years ago, NASA’s two previous suborbital launches involved a large number of inspection instruments and flip switches. Bezos and his team have nothing to worry about: New Shepard is completely driven by AI. They can watch the countdown from the personal viewing screen on the side of the large windows, which are designed for enjoying the luxurious views of the earth and space.
There are some reports of possible rain, but this day is amazing and sunny. The countdown only pauses at 15 minutes. Then counting restarts. The system passed the last two minutes of inspection, all completed by the automatic sequence, and then the voice of the mission control center began to count down: “10, 9, 8, 7, 6… Command the engine to start, 2 1.”
At 8:12 in the morning, steam flowed from the bottom of the booster for a few seconds. “We have already taken off,” said the voice from the base’s small mission control room. Then the rocket jumped like a dart and sailed upwards until only a fuzzy track remained, a donut, marking the temporary hole New Shepard glided through the sky.
About three minutes later, the RSS First Step capsule separated from the rocket and pushed through the Earth’s atmosphere. That’s it: the crew is weightless. They are space travelers. Although the live broadcast did not provide real-time video to thousands of online viewers, you can recognize some audio that captured the cheers of the crew as they unbuckled their seat belts and floated.
“Oh my God!”
“Oh my God!”
“Look out the window!”
When the capsule lightly began its journey home, the New Shepard rocket had already begun to descend to Earth. A sound blast announced the return of the rocket, and in a burst of fire, it landed safely on its launch pad. Soon after, three red, white and blue parachutes were deployed above the capsule. Bezos said to the control room: “Your staff here are very happy, I want you to know.”