Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mock crew straps into space capsule, exits before liftoff

 Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company strapped two employees into a fueled rocketship for practice, but pulled them out shortly before sending the capsule to the edge of space Wednesday with only a test dummy.

AP

The crew rehearsal in West Texas brings Blue Origin closer to launching tourists and others into space.

Blue Origin wanted to see how well a crew could get in and out of the capsule. The pretend astronauts also tested seatbelts and radio links before the 10 1/2-minute flight, and went back to the capsule following touchdown to climb aboard for recovery practice.

“While there are no astronauts on board today, that was a critical step toward our march toward first human flight,” flight commentator Ariane Cornell said from company headquarters in Kent, Washington. The company is “very close” to flying passengers, she noted.

Blue Origin's goal is to take paying customers on short hops providing three minutes of weightlessness. Windows make up one-third of the six-seat capsule.

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