At 10:59 am CST today, Blue Origin's New Shepard reusable booster lifted off carrying Crew Capsule 2.0 for the first time. The rocket reached an altitude of 322,032 feet (98.16 km) in a flight lasting a total of 10 minutes and six seconds before returning to Earth for a controlled, powered landing.

Crew Capsule 2.0 is the latest experimental iteration of the capsule that will eventually carry passengers into space. It's notable for its large windows that measure 2.4 x 3.6 ft (73 x 110 cm), but on this flight the only passenger was "Mannequin Skywalker," an instrument-laden test dummy designed to return flight telemetry. In addition, the flight also included 12 commercial, research, and education payloads.

The flight, which was the seventh overall by the New Shepard reusable booster, saw the rocket reach a maximum ascent velocity of Mach 2.94 (2,000 mph, 3,200 km/h) and a maximum descent velocity of Mach 3.74 (2,847 mph, 4.582 km/h) on the way back to Earth.

The rocket deployed Capsule 2.0 at 6,463 ft (1.969 m) before it returned to the ground using its parachutes to land at 11:10 am CST. Meanwhile, the booster touched down after firing its engines at an altitude of 3,716 ft (1,132 m) to land at a speed of 6.75 mph (10.86 km/h).

"Today's flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success," says Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. "It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program."

Source: Blue Origin

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