Blue Origin flies its Crew Capsule 2.0 for the first time

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Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin recorded a new milestone today – an inaugural flight for Crew Capsule 2.0, the latest version of the vehicle it’s creating to bring astronauts into space for its first passenger flights. The Crew Capsule 2.0 craft flew atop a New Shepard reusable booster, traveling up to an altitude of over 322,000 feet.

The New Shepard rocket, which also carried additional commercial and research payloads, came back to earth for a powered landing around 10 minutes after launch. It’s the seventh time that Blue Origin has flown the reusable New Shepard rocket, and the Capsule itself also returned to earth via unpowered, parachute assisted descent.

Crew Capsule 2.0 wasn’t carrying anyone on board for this test ride, but it did have a dummy onboard to provide data about what kind of forces might be exerted on a real passenger during flight. Blue Origin hopes to fly people onboard its aircraft by early 2019, so expect next year to be a very active one for the company in terms of testing and preparations.