Blue Origin's New Shepard Rocket Flies Humans Again After 2022 Mishap

By Jose Resurreccion

May 20, 2024 01:13 AM EDT

Blue Origin's New Shepard Rocket Flies Humans Again After 2022 Mishap
A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launches from Launch Site One in West Texas north of Van Horn on March 31, 2022.
(Photo : PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Blue Origin launched its first human spaceflight on Sunday (May 19), two years after a mishap in an uncrewed flight in August 2022 forced the company to postpone its flights with humans on board. reported that the Jeff Bezos-founded aerospace company flew six people, including former US Air Force test pilot Ed Dwight. Dwight was the first Black person to be selected to undergo training as a NASA astronaut, but he has not been officially picked as such. Dwight has since made his mark as a sculptor and author. 

The honor went to Guion Bluford when he flew aboard the space shuttle Challenger for STS-8 in 1983. 

Reuters reported that Dwight became the oldest person in space-at the age of 90 years and eight months-upon completion of the mission. He took the record from "Star Trek" star William Shatner, who was 90 years and six months old at the time of a 2021 launch when he flew to space.

Dwight was quoted by the Associated Press saying that the experience was "life-changing."

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The passengers include pilot and aviator Gopi Thotakura, venture capitalist Mason Angel, French craft brewer Sylvain Chiron, entrepreneur Kenneth L. Hess, and retired accountant Carol Schaller. 

The amount Blue Origin charged its customers remains undisclosed.

New Shepard brought the six people on board to a maximum altitude of around 105 km above sea level, barely reaching the edge of space after passing over the Karman Line. Both capsule and rocket safely landed around seven minutes later.

Blue Origin commentators assured viewers during the launch's livestream that the capsule could safely land on two parachutes after a third failed to deploy.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin's major competitor, Virgin Galactic, is scheduled to fly VSS Unity on June 8.

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