AirVenture 2017 Preview: Blue Origin Bringing New Shepard Reusable Rocket to Oshkosh | Flying Magazine
Blue Origin

AirVenture 2017 Preview: Blue Origin Bringing New Shepard Reusable Rocket to Oshkosh

The crew capsule mock-up will take space enthusiasts on a simulated voyage beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

One of the most exciting of the many events that will take place at this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh is the 50th anniversary reunion of Apollo program astronauts. This is expected to be the largest Apollo reunion at Oshkosh since 1994’s “Salute to Apollo,” and Space Day (Friday, July 28) should be a thrill for space and exploration enthusiasts of all ages. But the excitement won’t be limited to just the Apollo highlights.

Blue Origin founder (and Amazon founder and CEO) Jeff Bezos is sending the New Shepard reusable rocket and a full-size crew capsule mock-up to Oshkosh, offering the public the opportunity to sit in the capsule and experience a simulated space voyage. On November 23, 2015, the New Shepard rocket reached a height of approximately 330,000 feet — also known as the Karman Line, or the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space — and then returned to Earth to make a vertical soft landing. It was the first time a booster rocket had ever performed such a feat, and it was a huge step forward in the company’s plan to make space tourism a reality.

In 2018, the New Shepard rocket will undergo test flights with a crew, but Oshkosh will allow ordinary dreamers and imaginary astronauts to look through the capsule’s large windows and pretend that they’re getting a firsthand look at the stars beyond our skies. The simulation will feature real footage recorded during the rocket’s flights.

“We are very excited to come to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 and showcase our reusable New Shepard rocket and crew capsule so everyone can experience what it’s like to be an astronaut,” said Rob Meyerson, president of Blue Origin. “We hope to inspire the explorers of tomorrow, the ones who will help us achieve Blue Origin’s goal of millions of people living and working in space.”

Here’s a look back at Blue Origin’s accomplishments to date.

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Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos at the West Texas launch facility prior to New Shepard's first test launch.

Blue Origin

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Bezos also participated in communications tests prior to the New Shepard rocket's debut launch.

Blue Origin

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And Bezos was there to celebrate with his Blue Origin team after the completion of a successful New Shepard rocket booster landing.

Blue Origin

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The New Shepard BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling and restarting on command, according to Blue Origin.

Blue Origin/NASA

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The BE-4 engine underwent 100 staged combustion tests during its development.

Blue Origin

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The New Shepard crew capsule reached apogee at 307,000 during its first developmental test flight.

Blue Origin

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Blue Origin’s New Shepard in all its glory after its historic landing.

Blue Origin

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The New Shepard rocket making its second test voyage.

Blue Origin

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New Shepard reached an apogee of 331,504 feet on its fourth launch, which took place on June 19, 2016.

Blue Origin

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The fourth launch of the New Shepard rocket was completed with a successful, stable landing.

Blue Origin

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On this New Shepard launch, the rocket reached an apogee of 339,138 feet.

Blue Origin

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The New Shepard crew capsule made a slow, gentle landing after it separated from the rocket.

Blue Origin

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The Blue Origin team conducted the recovery efforts after the fifth New Shepard test flight.

Blue Origin

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After each flight, the crew paints a tortoise on the side of the rocket. While the company keeps its secrets locked down, the tortoises reportedly represent a slow and steady approach, as evidenced by the company's coat of arms, which features the Latin phrase "Gradatim Ferociter," or “step by step, ferociously.”

Blue Origin

New Shepard

This is how the crew capsule will look when people board it for a simulated space trip at AirVenture in Oshkosh.

Blue Origin

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