A new video from private spaceflight venture Blue Origin gives people a different perspective of the company’s New Shepard rocket returning to Earth from space. The footage, taken from a camera on top of the vehicle during an April 2nd test flight, shows the changing landscape around the New Shepard as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere and then touches down at Blue Origin’s facility in West Texas. The video was first shown at the annual Space Symposium in April, but now Blue Origin has uploaded the clip to YouTube.
The New Shepard featured in the video is a reusable rocket designed to launch a crew capsule filled with passengers up to around 62 miles above Earth’s surface. Once in space, the capsule detaches from the rest of the rocket, and the passengers inside experience a few minutes of weightlessness. Afterward, both the capsule and the rocket fall back to Earth. Parachutes help to slow down the capsule’s fall, but the rest of the rocket performs what is known as a propulsive landing: the rocket’s engines reignite and landing legs deploy, allowing the vehicle to touch down gently. In the video, viewers can see the New Shepard’s landing legs deploy in the vehicle’s shadow on the ground.
So far, Blue Origin has successfully launched and landed the same New Shepard vehicle three times. The company has said that it plans to start crewed test flights in 2017, and then start taking tourists up to space in 2018.
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