Our reusable launch vehicle is taking payloads - and soon you - to space.
Meet New Shepard
Named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, New Shepard is our reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space. Whether you are an astronaut flying with Blue Origin or sending a payload to space, your 11-minute flight on New Shepard will be the experience of a lifetime.
New Shepard Mission Profile
Sitting atop a 60-foot-tall rocket in a capsule designed for six people, you’ll listen to the countdown and then feel the engine ignite and rumble under you as you climb through the atmosphere. Accelerating to more than Mach 3 and experiencing forces equal to three times Earth’s gravitational force, you will count yourself as one of the few who have reached these speeds and crossed into space. You will then return to Earth as the capsule's parachutes deploy for a gentle landing back in the West Texas desert.
Safe & Reliable Access to Space
Safety and reliability are paramount. Our rigorous test program with New Shepard is putting the vehicle through the paces. We have successfully completed several crew capsule escape tests showing that our astronauts will be safe in any phase of flight. In addition to our test program, our payloads program is driving more flights of the system as we iterate on operations and technology in preparation for human spaceflight. All the learnings from the New Shepard program are being flowed into New Glenn development as we scale up our capabilities to serve the orbital market.
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 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.
All 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.
Operational Reuse At Work
Our record-setting New Shepard was the first fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing space vehicle. That vehicle flew above the Kármán line five times and landed safely back on Earth. Powered by our robust BE-3 engine, New Shepard is preparing to take astronauts to space and back from our West Texas launch site.
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 489 kN (110,000 lbf) of thrust, the BE-3PM liquid rocket engine is also designed to restart as the vehicle returns, slowing the booster to just 8 km/h (5 mph) for landing.
Fins near the base of the booster stabilize the vehicle during ascent and then pivot to steer it back to the landing pad on descent. Hydraulic actuators provide enough force to drive these fins through airspeeds up to Mach 4.
Retractable landing legs deploy for a controlled landing on the pad.
The BE-3PM liquid rocket engine has 110,000 lbf (489 kN) of thrust, powering the New Shepard system to space.
92% of visible lightMade of multiple layers of fracture-tough transparencies, New Shepard windows transmit 92% of visible light – as good as glass.
530 cubic feet
New Shepard’s capsule interior is an ample 530 cubic feet (15 cubic meters) — offering over 10 times the room Alan Shepard had on his Mercury flight.
For operational flights, fewer than 26 people are needed in the control room for each launch.
Unparalleled Views Of The Earth from Space
Experience the overview effect firsthand when you fly to space on board New Shepard. At the apex of your 11-minute flight, you will float above the thin limb of the atmosphere and gaze upon the Earth below.
Fly Your Research and Technology
Whether you are a school who wants your own space program for the cost of sports uniforms or you're a researcher or entrepreneur using microgravity for your technology - New Shepard is enabling low cost and frequent access to space for you.
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