NEW SHEPARD-25 MISSION (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     20th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, Andhra-born Gopi Thota-Akura made history as the first Indian citizen to enter space as a tourist, participating in Blue Origin's NS-25 mission.

New Shepard-25 (NS-25) Mission

  • About: It is a sub-orbital spaceflight mission, operated by Blue Origin, which was launched on 19 May 2024 using the New Shepard rocket.

o The 25th mission in the New Shepard program will carry six astronauts beyond the edge of space before bringing them back to Earth.

  • Launches from: Launch Site One, located in the high desert of West Texas near Van Horn.

New Shepard

  • About: Reusable rocket system crafted to transport astronauts and research payloads beyond the Karman line.

o Karman line: It is a boundary 62 miles (100 kilometers) above mean sea level that borders end of  Earth's atmosphere and the beginning of space.

o It is a conventional definition of the edge of space. It is not universally accepted.

  • Development: Developed by Blue Origin as a fully reusable sub-orbital launch system specifically for space tourism.
  • The name "New Shepard" is inspired by Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut to travel into space.
  • Reusability: New Shepard is a fully reusable rocket system, designed to be launched multiple times without significant refurbishment.
  • Environmental Impact: Nearly 99% of New Shepard’s dry mass is reused, including the booster, capsule, engine, landing gear and parachutes. 

o New Shepard’s engine is fuelled by highly-efficient liquid oxygen and hydrogen.

o During flight, the only byproduct is water vapour with no carbon emissions.

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