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.