Huntsville students watch their project launch into space on a rocket


The mission will take 38 microgravity research payloads to space and one of these research payloads is a contribution of Punjab's Patiala resident Harpreet Singh Sareen.

An overhead view shows Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital spaceship lifting off in West Texas.

Blue Origin's rocket, meanwhile, is fully automated.

The capsule, which detaches from the rocket near the top of its flight path, climbed to more than 346,000 feet, or 65 miles, above Earth during Friday's test flight, according to initial data reported by Blue Origin during a webcast.

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For this mission, dubbed NS-11, Blue Origin sent 38 payloads over 62 miles (100 km) straight up and past the Karman line, which is widely considered to be where Earth's atmosphere ends and space begins. "Our payload is a self-contained experiment (4.0" x 4.0" x 7.0", 1.1lbm) housing growth media and electronics powering this growth over the microgravity window", Sareen said while revealing about his project. Founded by Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin plans to begin launching private citizen-astronauts later this year. The first booster launch suffered a crash landing, but every rocket since then has chalked up a successful flight with all capsules safely recovered.

The New Shepard booster beat it back to Earth, making a rocket-powered tail-first landing on a nearby concrete pad. The Blue Origin rocket launched from a testing ground in Texas this morning. If the capsule had been filled with space tourists, this would have been the time where they would have experienced zero gravity. Six passengers would ride past the edge of space, where they would spend about 10 minutes floating in zero gravity before returning back to Earth.

A future iteration of this rocket will be used to carry humans to the Moon and Mars, and it will also form the basis for the next Blue Origin rocket, the New Glenn. Several other startups are working hard on their own rocket technologies and courting eager clients with the prospect of affordable satellite launches and other potential missions.

Virgin Galactic - which plans to use a rocket-powered plane to fly groups of people to the edge of space - has conducted two test flights above the 50-mile mark since December.