Space tourism: A new rocket will be launched into space

English Section / 17 mai

Space tourism: A new rocket will be launched into space

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Space tourism is increasingly becoming a reality, even if the first steps are quite "shy". Six tourists will try to reach space for a short time aboard a rocket built by Blue Origin, which will be launched on Sunday from the United States, the representatives of this American company announced. Blue Origin's space tourism flights only last around ten minutes, but allow passengers to admire the curvature of the Earth and briefly float in weightlessness inside the capsule. Blue Origin, a company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has already transported 31 people beyond the Karman Line, which marks the altitude of 100 kilometers and is considered the border with space, according to an international convention. Many of the passengers of the American company are rich customers, the price of a ticket on board the space capsule is not known. The rocket built by Blue Origin is launched vertically from a base in west Texas, propelling the capsule that separates from the launcher in flight, reaches the limit of space and then returns to Earth through a braked descent with the help of parachutes. One of the passengers on Sunday's flight will be Frenchman Sylvain Chiron, settled in the Savoie department, where he founded the Mont-Blanc Brewery. Passionate about aviation and skiing, he studied in the United States and in Japan, according to Blue Origin. Its participation in Sunday's flight has been announced since early April, but the launch date for this mission, called NS-25, was only confirmed on Tuesday. Sylvain Chiron will board the capsule along with five other passengers, including Ed Dwight, born in 1933 and who should have become the first African-American in space, but who ultimately did not have that opportunity. The other passengers on Sunday's flight will be hedge fund manager Mason Angel, entrepreneur Kenneth L. Hess, retired accountant Carol Schaller and pilot and aviator Gopi Thotakura.

For Blue Origin, this will be the first crewed flight of its New Shepard rocket after August 2022.

In September 2022, another flight, but without a crew, resulted in the collapse of the rocket's propulsion stage. The automatic ejection system of the capsule - carrying passengers on a manned flight - went off and the capsule returned to the ground after a braked descent using its parachute system. Following an investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Blue Origin operated some modifications and made another flight, also unmanned, in December 2023. Jeff Bezos himself participated in the first manned flight of the New Shepard rocket in July 2021.

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