Blue Origin is preparing to ship firstspace tourists with the help of their suborbital apparatus New Shepard. In an interview with journalists from the portal SpaceNews, the head of a private aerospace company, Jeff Bezos, said that the first commercial launch should take place this year. In the same interview, Bezos noted that Blue Origin has an advantage over the competitor in the face of Virgin Galactic: its apparatus is able to rise to a height exceeding the height of the SpaceShipTwo space plane, therefore Blue Origin hopes to bypass Virgin in the provision of space travel services.
"This is the first time I say:" this year. " Over the past five years, I used to say “next year,” Bezos said during an interview.
Space Rocket TestsNew Shepard held for several years. All these launches were unmanned. The last took place on January 23. According to Bezos, "everything is going very well." The head of Blue Origin noted that the company had successfully tested the rescue system of the device.
“We literally checked every part of the ship for flaws. Perhaps this was the most difficult test for us, ”said Bezos.
Blue Origin is not the only company thatwants to launch tourist space flights this year. The main competitor in the face of Virgin Galactic is also trying with all its might to begin commercial flights as soon as possible with the help of its suborbital space plan SpaceShipTwo. The last successful test of the device took place just a couple of days ago. In its course, Virgin Galactic broke its own altitude record, reaching 89.9 kilometers above the earth. This flight was also significant because there was a “test tourist” on board. The first passenger of SpaceShipTwo was the chief astronaut instructor of the company Beth Moses. It is noted that it is she who will prepare future space tourists.
"One of the questions that Virgin Galacticwill have to decide, due to the fact that they have not yet reached the Karman line. I think that they will have to figure out how to rise above this Karman line, ”Bezos commented.
Let us clarify that the Karman line is taken as the conditional boundary between cosmic and terrestrial space. It is located at an altitude of 100 kilometers above the surface of the planet.
"We have always set ourselves the goal to go higherKarman lines, because they didn’t want asterisks to appear next to your name with an explanation of whether you are astronauts or not. This is the question that, in my opinion, they will have to decide in the near future, ”Bezos continued.
Next to the name of those who fly on the New Shepard spacecraft, "there will be no stars", added the head of Blue Origin.
During the interview, Bezos also noted that despite the “excellent pace” in the program of preparing the launch vehicle and the New Shepard ship for commercial launches, the company is not driven by any schedules.
"I constantly keep reminding my teamand in this I firmly believe that this is not a race. I want the first launch of the ship with people on board to take place this year, but we will fly only when we are really ready, ”Bezos said.
The interview also touched upon the topic of developingthe larger New Glenn rocket, designed to bring spacecraft to low Earth orbit, and the BE-4 engine, on the basis of which it will operate. Here Bezos explained how the New Shepard rocket fits into the overall development strategy of the company and what role it plays in it.
“New Shepard we use for practice. In fact, many of the components of the New Shepard launch vehicle are used in the second stage of the New Glenn, ”said Bezos, adding that this is one of the modifications to the BE-3 engine, which is currently used in the New Shepard. It is planned to use it as the main engine of the second stage of the New Glenn.
“All these systems will be thoroughly tested induring suborbital launches, and then migrate to the upper stage of the new rocket. The landing processes and reusable technologies developed during the New Shepard program will also find their use in the operation of the New Glenn launch vehicle. ”
Recall that the first test launch of the rocketNew Origin, Blue Origin, plans to implement in 2021. Blue Origin targets do not end with Earth’s orbit. The company wants to send a spacecraft to the moon in 2023. Development of the landing module is already underway.
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