The vehicle carried 38 microgravity research payloads, the most ever on a single New Shepard flight. According to Blue Origin, "The Space Exploration Initiative is built on the spirit of the MIT Media Lab, uniting artists, engineers, scientists, and designers". The New Shepard sent the company's capsule to an altitude of 346,406 feet - more than 100 kilometers up.
Bezos has said he is funding Blue Origin by selling about $1 billion worth of his Amazon stock each year. The rocket booster beat the capsule back to Earth, making a ideal tail-first landing on the cement landing pad.
The New Shepard booster beat it back to Earth, making a rocket-powered tail-first landing on a nearby concrete pad. It was the fifth landing for this booster and 11th mission overall for Blue Origin. During each launch, the booster climbs through the atmosphere, carrying the capsule beyond the edge of space - about 62 miles up. It's also not known whether Bezos, the richest man on Earth, will take take a ride on his own rocket to become the richest man in space.
The "Telepresent Drawings in Space [experiment] uses graphite to create a drawing that could only have been made in space [while the] Living Distance: A Spider-Inspired Robotic Dance in Weightlessness [will demonstrate] a crystalline robotic device that navigates zero gravity, similar to a performance", noted Blue Origin. Thousands watched via a live webcast, and admired the technology that will soon send tourists into space.
New Shepard payloads are secured inside the Crew Capsule, where they are exposed to both the forces of launch and a couple minutes of microgravity before the capsule is pulled back to Earth.
And the first crewed flights of Blue Origin New Shepard may arrive as early as this year.
Much like lead dog SpaceX, Blue Origin is focusing on reusable rocket technology that will enhance the company's ability to perform multiple launches with short turn-around times and at a reduced cost. Several other startups are working hard on their own rocket technologies and courting eager clients with the prospect of affordable satellite launches and other potential missions.