Private space company Blue Origin has announced the successful demonstration of upgrades made to its New Shepard program’s crew capsule. For this launch, the NS-14 capsule featured various updates that are intended to improve the astronaut experience, including easier access to Mission Control, cushioned wall linings, and more.
Today’s Blue Origin launch was an uncrewed demonstration of the capsule, which was the 14th launch under the company’s New Shepard program. The NS-14 capsule used in this launch is new, marking its first trip into space, and it features those aforementioned upgrades.
According to the company, the NS-14 crew capsule features six seats, each with a crew alert system panel that displays ‘important safety messages’ to the crew. Blue Origin also says that the cabin now features speakers with a microphone; each seat has a push-to-talk button so that each astronaut can easily get in contact with Mission Control.
Beyond that, the NS-14 also features various environmental systems tasked with things like preventing the windows from fogging, keeping the capsule cool, keeping humidity levels in check, regulating the cabin temperature, and removing carbon dioxide. Rounding out the upgrades are cushioned linings for the walls and ‘sound suppression devices.’
Blue Origin also notes that today’s launch involved having the booster rotate around two-to-three degrees per second, which gives the capsule a bit of spin so the astronauts on board can get a 360-degree look at the space around them. On a more fun note, the capsule also contained thousands of postcards from students participating in the Club of the Future.