Soar with Blue Origin
Watch an animated journey of spaceflight with Blue Origin
Watch an animated journey of spaceflight with Blue Origin
The New Shepard capsule and booster are being designed and tested to exceptionally high standards, in a process that is both rigorous and disciplined. Our manufacturing and assembly technicians have years of experience in aircraft and spacecraft manufacturing.
The elements of the New Shepard system are being tested extensively, both on the ground and during uncrewed test flights. From vibration tables and thermal chambers to hundreds of engine firings, these tests stress the vehicles and all of their subsystems.
Our flight test program continues to build experience with the New Shepard system in an uncrewed configuration, leading up to the day when we are ready for astronauts to climb on board for launch.
The New Shepard system is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle.
The system consists of a pressurized capsule atop a booster. The combined vehicles launch vertically, accelerating for approximately two and a half minutes, before the engine cuts off. The capsule then separates from the booster to coast quietly into space. After a few minutes of free fall, the booster performs an autonomously controlled rocket-powered vertical landing, while the capsule lands softly under parachutes, both ready to be used again.
Reusability allows us to fly the system again and again. With each flight, we’ll continuously improve the affordability of space exploration and research, opening space for all.
The New Shepard capsule’s interior is an ample 530 cubic feet – offering over 10 times the room Alan Shepard had on his Mercury flight. It seats six astronauts and is large enough for you to float freely and turn weightless somersaults.
Sitting atop a 60-foot-tall rocket in a capsule designed for six people, you’ll feel the engine ignite and rumble under you as you climb through the atmosphere. Accelerating at more than 3 Gs to faster than Mach 3, you will count yourself as one of the few who have gone these speeds and crossed into space.
As the main engine cuts off, your capsule will separate from its booster and perfect stillness will surround you. You’ll release your harness and experience the freedom of weightlessness.
Weightlessness inside capsule
Our New Shepard capsule features the largest windows in spaceflight history. These windows make up a third of the capsule, immersing you in the vastness of space and life-changing views of our blue planet.
Each window is made of multiple layers of fracture-tough transparencies, designed to provide crystal clarity of the incredible views before you. Minimizing distortion and reflection, the windows transmit 92% of visible light – as good as glass.
The crew capsule descends under parachutes for a smooth landing, in the same way as the earliest space pioneers. Three independent parachutes provide redundancy, while a retro-thrust system further cushions your landing.
As the rocket reenters the atmosphere, air flows through a ring at the top of the booster, passively moving the center of pressure to help control descent. Four wedge-shaped fins also deploy to further enhance aerodynamic stability.
Descending at the speed of sound, the booster deploys eight large drag brakes, reducing the vehicle’s speed by half.
In addition to powering the New Shepard system to space with 110,000 lbs. of thrust, the BE-3 liquid rocket engine is also designed to restart as the vehicle returns, slowing the booster to just 5 mph for landing.
Fins near the base of the booster pivot to stabilize the vehicle during ascent and steer it back to the landing pad on descent. Hydraulic actuators provide enough force to drive these fins through airspeeds up to Mach 4.
The vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) booster will add something truly modern – after separating from the capsule, the booster will return to Earth. Deploying landing gear, the rocket will make a precise touchdown, enabling reusability.
From the time astronauts are secured in their seats until the capsule separates from the booster near apogee, escape is an option if needed. Drawing from the lessons of Mercury and Apollo, this is known as “full-envelope” escape.
The New Shepard escape system is built around a solid rocket motor that provides 70,000 lbs. of thrust in a two-second burn, so the capsule can quickly move away from any hazard.
Two days before your flight, you’ll travel with your guests to the New Shepard launch site in the beautiful high desert plains. The area’s isolation lends clarity and focus as you prepare for the experience of a lifetime.
The day before launch, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make the most of your experience as an astronaut. The active and fun day-long session will help you feel comfortable and prepared for spaceflight and your responsibilities as an astronaut.
Training includes mission and vehicle overviews, in-depth safety briefings, mission simulation and instruction on your in-flight activities such as operational procedures, communications and maneuvering in a weightless environment.
As the sun rises over the launch site, we’ll complete final pre-launch checks and clear you for flight. Anticipation mounting, you’ll ascend the launch tower step-by-step to the rocket, climb through the hatch and prepare for countdown. After you’re strapped in, you’ll receive final clearance to launch and conduct a final communications and readiness check.
The combined capsule and booster will launch vertically from the launchpad. You’ll accelerate, experiencing over 3 Gs for 150 seconds before the booster engine cuts off, and the vehicle glides into space. You’ll communicate with Mission Control about altitude, speed, time and G force as the Earth retreats through your window.
As the sky fades to black and you coast into space, a perfect silence will surround you. Your capsule will separate from the booster, and you’ll receive clearance to release your harness. You’ll marvel in weightless freedom and lose yourself in breathtaking views through the largest windows in spaceflight history. Having crossed over the Kármán Line into space, you will have earned your astronaut wings.
Before descent, a signal will direct you to return to your seat and strap in. You’ll experience peak forces of over 5 Gs before parachutes deploy and thrusters fire to reduce your speed for a soft landing back on Earth. You’ll land just miles from where you launched.
Your journey is hardly over at landing. We’ll help you capture and remember your experience with high-definition videos, pictures, and mementos from your flight. You can share these with friends and family for a lifetime.
You’ll also belong to an exclusive Blue Origin alumni network – a community of modern space pioneers. Make history with a suborbital flight, and you will receive early access to purchase tickets for our future orbital missions.
With approximately three minutes in a high-quality microgravity environment, an apogee of over 100 km, and a comfortable shirt-sleeve cabin environment, our New Shepard system is ideal for microgravity physics, gravitational biology, technology demonstrations, and educational programs. You’ll also have the opportunity for earth, atmospheric, and space science research.
Our frequent flight schedule will allow you to launch your experiment multiple times to iterate on findings, improve statistics, or rapidly collect data. As human flights begin, you’ll also be able to fly with your payloads for hands-on experimentation.
From academic research and corporate technology development to educational payloads and entrepreneurial ventures, our private platform offers unparalleled access.
Contact us below to tell us about your payload and learn about preparing it for spaceflight.
We can readily accommodate experiments from a few ounces up to 50 lbs., with custom solutions available for larger payloads. Payloads are installed in the capsule, supported by our unique payload avionics system and software, including:
|Single Size||Double Size|
|Payload Mass||25 lbs. / 11.34 kg||50 lbs. / 22.68 kg|
|Payload Volume||1.84 ft3 / 52 L||3.50 ft3 / 99 L|
|Approximate Interior Dimensions||20.6 x 16.3 x 9.5 in / 52.3 x 41.4 x 24.1 cm (less hinge area)||20.6 x 16.3 x 18.0 in / 52.3 x 41.4 x 45.7 cm (less hinge area)|
|Power||28 VDC, 200 W peak|
|Data||32 GB onboard data storage with synchronized flight parameter measurements; plus an additional 128 GB video storage provided for post-flight download|
|Experiment Configuration Software||Blue Origin software available to configure experiment command sequence, such as turning on sensors and other apparatus when microgravity is reached|
payload integration provided by