Here’s What You Need To Do To Fly With Jeff Bezos’ Space Company
Kent, Washington-based aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight provider Blue Origin opened the bidding process for its first flight on the New Shepard vehicle set to take place in July. The bid will allow one private individual to become part of the company's crew and experience spaceflight at the edge of the Karman line - the border between Earth and space.
As part of this process, Blue will require the individual to meet the physical stresses of the mission, which involve experiencing more than five times the force of gravity during liftoff. Details of the physical requirements have been shared by retired Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut Chris Hadfield on Twitter.
Blue Origin's New Shepard Crew Will Experience Stronger G Forces Than SpaceX's Crew-1 Astronauts During Return To Earth
The details shared by Hadfield reveal that during their return to Earth, astronauts on the New Shephard vehicle will experience higher g-forces than astronauts on Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s (SpaceX) Crew Dragon spacecraft did during their return to Earth. The Crew-1 astronauts experienced up to four and a half times the force of gravity during their return, according to NASA astronaut Victor Glover, the Crew-1 mission pilot.
Compared to this, Blue Origin will require its crew to be able to withstand forces up to "five-and-a-half times one's normal weight" during its return. The New Shepard crew capsule lands on Earth and has a relatively shorter descent due to its journey only to the edge of the Earth's atmosphere.
In comparison, the SpaceX Crew Dragon enters the Earth's atmosphere from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) since it conducts missions to the International Space Station (ISS). It lands in the water, unlike both the New Shepard and the Russian Soyuz.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 6, 2021
When looking at the ascent (or launch) phase of the mission, the New Shepard crew will have it easier than those riding on the SpaceX spaceship. As explained by NASA astronaut Shannon Walker in December, the Dragon subjects astronauts to a maximum of 4.5 gs,
The two stages on the Falcon, you're just increasing your G load the whole time. So by the time the first stage engine ends you're about 3.3 Gs, second stage it just keeps going up and up and up till you're about four and a half,...
In comparison, the Crew Dragon, astronauts on the New Shepard will experience a maximum of 3 gs during their ascent. This is normal given the vehicle's shorter flight profile which flies astronauts only to the edge of the atmosphere as opposed to LEO. These forces are slightly lesser than those experienced by the SpaceX astronauts during the first part of their mission when the first stage of the Falcon 9 is still powering their journey.
Other requirements include being between 5 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall and weight in between 110 lbs. and 240 lbs. Crew members will also be required to understand instructions in English in a high-noise environment and expect them to climb to the top of the seventy-foot tall launch tower.
The New Shepard's private astronaut launch joins SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission in opening up space for private individuals. In addition to the two companies, Virgin Group's Virgin Galactic also aims to conduct leisurely space trips. However, SpaceX is the only firm that will fly its crew in orbit, since the other two do not have spacecraft that are capable of sustaining orbital spaceflight.
While SpaceX built its Dragon spacecraft for NASA, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic have aimed their offerings towards public and private researchers looking to conduct experiments in microgravity. As a result, the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace provider can customize its spacecraft to offer orbital spaceflight.
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