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Blue Origin Successfully Launches New Shepard Rocket For Second Time This Year

Blue Origin testing its New Shepard rocket at its Van Horn facility in 2018. (Blue Origin)

By Carlos Morales

The Space travel company Blue Origin — owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos — launched its New Shepard rocket for the second time this year at its West Texas facility Thursday morning.

Traveling at nearly three times the speed of sound, the flight lasted around 10 minutes and saw the rocket's capsule reach an a peak altitude of 346,406 feet. Blue Origin completed its first New Shepard test flight of the year back in January. Thursday's launch from Blue Origin's Van Horn facility is the fifth flight for this particular vehicle, and eleventh overall for the New Shepard booster.

New Shepard — named after famed astronaut Alan Shepard — carried 38 “ microgravity research payloads” to space.

The test launch comes as Blue Origin is set for an announcement next week, which some have speculated may be related to moon travel. The space company has previously said they plan to complete a lunar landing by 2024.

Watch a livestream of the launch below, courtesy of Blue Origin.

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.