Video of Saturday’s New Shepard flight

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Blue Origin has released video of its New Shepard test flight on Saturday, once again in a slick edited presentation rather than raw video of the flight itself. I have embedded this video below the fold.

As promised, the propulsion module came down at full speed until only a few seconds before impact, then fired its engines and gently slowed, then hovered, then touched down without harm. The long shot of it coming down is especially breathtaking.


  • fred k

    Well done BO. Keep up the good work. I’m excited to see actual, commercial, sub-orbital rocket flights become a regular thing.

    I appreciate publically sharing exciting videos like this. More please.

  • We live in the coolest country in the world. Let’s not mess it up.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Impressive, but I don’t see much value in this other than as a brief excursion for the rich. When Bezos develops an orbital version, I will be more interested. Am I missing something?

  • Dick Eagleson

    Yeah, you are.

    The rich have always constituted the largest single group of early adopters of whatever new thing comes along. They are both willing and able to spend the premium prices charged by the innovators in the early going even if for no better reason than “bragging rights.” That will be true for space travel just as it was earlier true for rail travel, automobile travel and air travel. It was even true of much more plebian goods such as video cassette recorders, cell phones and other items of consumer electronics that are now all mass-produced and mass-owned but which started out very dear.

    The more of the rich, idle or not, who pony up for one of these early, expensive trips to space, the sooner the price will fall to a point affordable by, second, the merely affluent and, finally, by the rest of us ordinary Joes. Eat the Rich, as the commies like to say.

  • Hi Dick Eagleson,

    so happy to see your statement!

    I had the feeling that I was the only one with the opinion that sub-orbital tourism can be a door-opener to more affordable human space flight opportunities.

  • Joe

    Well said, Dick Eagleson! The well to do have capital and will use it to make the rest of us spend our money if there is something in for them, we are a richer society because of this.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Hi Matte. Thanks for the kind words. I think there are more of us out there than you might think.

    The early days of pretty much every mode of transportation are the most expensive, least well worked-out and dangerous. The iron rails used in the early days of railroading used to have an alarming habit of spontaneously warping up and eviscerating the train cars – and sometimes the passengers in them as well. Steel rails, when they became cheaply available, took care of this problem. No need to remind anyone of the early accident history of narrow, high-center-of-gravity, seat belt-less, open cockpit automobiles. The abundant crashes of early aircraft are also well-known. I could also mention boiler explosions on early steam-powered riverboats.

    During all these quasi-experimental and dangerous development periods, The Rich bravely, if perhaps unintentionally, stepped forward to be guinea pigs for us all in working the bugs out. Here’s to ’em, I say! I’m content to wait until spaceflight is cheap and safe as houses – if I’m still around by then.

  • Wodun

    While Dick Eagleson is right, it applies to more than just tourists. Suborbital launches are used right now for research and the cheaper these launches become, more research can be done. Servicing the existing market is a good way to look at it, in addition to creating new ones. You don’t need to worry about how these companies will make money since there is already an existing market.

    I want to know more about the types of research being done but often it is secretive and too boring for people to write about.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    The laws of physics and economics will preclude the average Joe from ever taking this joyride. With that said, I expect Bezos to add additional stages to reach orbital velocity. The real money is in putting satellites into orbit. There won’t be enough rich folk to fund suborbital launches for long. Perhaps an orbiting hotel would be feasible, but I imagine it would go bankrupt in a few years, unless it is leased to some government. Sorry for seeming like a Debbie downer.

  • Edward


    I think you will be surprised about how long suborbital space tourism will last. Virgin Galactic has hundreds of people who put down payments on rides at a high price. As soon as the cost of development is covered, the price per ride will come down to an even more affordable range. But since Dick Eagleson already covered this economic phenomenon, I suspect that you don’t believe it.

    I was unaware that the laws of physics differ for the average Joe than for the wealthy, It didn’t work that way in any of my physics classes, but maybe that explains why first class always seems to be located at the front of the airliners. Airliners may have seemed unaffordable for the average Joe, back in the day. I remember the phrase “the jet set,” half a century ago, meaning those who could afford to routinely fly on airliners.

    In addition, suborbital experiments, such as those launched on this flight, seem to also be in demand, so these companies are not relying solely on rich passengers.

    Blue Origin is planning a different and larger rocket for orbital launches. That was the original purpose of their BE-4 engine. Whether an orbiting hotel is feasible or not, many countries have expressed great interest in leasing time on orbiting space laboratories as a way to have a space program without the expense of building their own rockets.

    Several people have been willing to pay a nice price to go to the ISS, but the training seems to put off several potential customers. Perhaps if Blue Origin, or some other launch company, makes the training easier then enough will be thrilled to take the ride to keep an orbiting hotel open for a long time. Getting the hotel to space is the expensive part for the hotelier, keeping it there is not so expensive.

    I expect the suborbital tourism/experiment-laden-sounding-rocket business to help cover the development costs for Blue Origin’s orbital rocket and spacecraft, so once again, the rich will pay for services that will benefit the average Joe.

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