Date
24 October 2017
Blue Origin's New Shepard space capsule is designed to fly about 100 kilometers above Earth. Photo: Reuters
Blue Origin's New Shepard space capsule is designed to fly about 100 kilometers above Earth. Photo: Reuters

Jeff Bezos rocket to begin test flights this year

Blue Origin, a space company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, has finished work on a rocket engine for a suborbital spaceship, Reuters reported.

The firm expects to begin flight tests this year, officials said Tuesday.

The New Shepard spaceship is designed to fly three people or a mix of passengers and payloads at altitudes about 100 kilometers above Earth.

Testing and development of the BE-3 rocket engine, fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, has been completed, the last major milestone before it is attached to the New Shepard capsule for flight, Blue Origin president Rob Meyerson told reporters.

Privately owned Blue Origin has not started selling tickets for flights on New Shepard or released pricing information.

“The engine is ready for flight … and ready for other commercial users,” Meyerson said.

He declined to be specific about when New Shepard would fly, except to say “soon”.

The capsule will fly dozens of times unmanned before the test flights include pilots, Meyerson said.

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