Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to Launch 'High-Altitude Escape Motor Test' Wednesday

Amazon creator Jeff Bezos has launched his New Shepherd rocket higher than previously

The booster and spacecraft blasted off from the company's launch site in West Texas shortly after 11am Eastern, and then performed a test created to ferry passengers to safety in case of an emergency. Once the booster separated, the capsule's escape motor fired, lifting the spacecraft to an altitude of 389,846 feet. The booster and capsule - both repeat flyers - landed successfully.

Wednesday's passenger was Mannequin Skywalker, an instrumented dummy in a blue flight suit that's flown before, plus science experiments.

Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, aims to send people and payloads into orbit from Cape Canaveral.

Blue Origin's Successful Separation Test.

Blue Origin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company has not set a firm timetable for the start of crewed test flights, or the launch of commercial services directed at the space tourism and suborbital research markets.

Neither Virgin nor Blue Origin's passengers will find themselves orbiting the Earth: instead, their weightless experience will last just minutes.

Sir Richard Branson founder of Virgin Galactic with his Spaceship Two and White Knight Two carrier aircraft
Blue Origin plans high-altitude escape test on suborbital launch Wednesday

Eventually, when it's ready to go, Blue Origin hopes to use New Shepard to bring adventurous passengers to sub-orbital space.

Additionally, they will be able to see the curvature of the earth at an altitude of 93,573 meters, before the pressurized pod returns to the planet with the help of parachutes.

Today's launch should be pretty routine for the space startup, but nothing is ever guaranteed when you're working with rockets.

From takeoff to landing, the flight took 10 minutes during the latest test. Tickets will be available by next year. Bezos said in May ticket prices had not yet been decided.

But in comments to AFP, the company struck a more cautious note. His direct competitor, Elon Musk, says Bezos, will be able to offer so low price for flights.

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