More than a year following a setback in the form of a failed test flight, Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin, is gearing up for another attempt at launching its space tourism rocket, New Shepard. The upcoming mission, scheduled for Monday, is expected to be an uncrewed science mission, according to a report by CNN.
The previous incident occurred on September 12, 2022, when a New Shepard rocket’s uncrewed launch was aborted due to technical issues, resulting in the complete destruction of the rocket. During the aborted launch, an apparent burst of flames was observed, prompting the initiation of the New Shepard capsule’s launch abort system. Fortunately, no injuries were reported on the ground.
In a recent interview, Bezos discussed the escape system that successfully propelled the New Shepard capsule to safety during the previous failure. He emphasized the system’s engineering brilliance and its crucial role in ensuring safety for future missions.
“The (rocket) booster is as safe and reliable as we can make it. The power density is so enormous that it is impossible to ever be sure that nothing will go wrong. … So the only way to improve safety is to have an escape system,” Bezos explained, expressing confidence in the safety measures implemented.
Risks associated with space
Bezos acknowledged the inherent risks associated with space tourism vehicles, emphasizing that achieving absolute safety is challenging due to the intense power density involved in rocket launches.
Interest in space tourism remains high, particularly among the ultra-rich. Dennis Tito, credited as the world’s first space tourist, embarked on a journey to the International Space Station in 2001, organized by the Russian Space Agency. Tito reportedly paid $20 million for the pioneering space trip.
Various companies, including Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s SpaceX, are actively involved in the burgeoning field of space tourism, catering to the growing demand for extraterrestrial experiences. As Blue Origin prepares for its upcoming mission, the space tourism industry continues to capture the imagination of those with a penchant for exploring the cosmos.