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Watch Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin test fly the latest upgrades to its space tourism rocket New Shepard


The rocket booster and capsule that flew Blue Origin's NS-13 mission in October remains operational, with the company saying it is now dedicated to flying microgravity research payloads.


"The upgrades include improvements to environmental features such as acoustics and temperature regulation inside the capsule, crew display panels, and speakers with a microphone and push-to-talk button at each seat.


The mission will also test a number of astronaut communication and safety alert systems," the company said in a blog post.


New Shepard is designed to carrying people on a ride past the edge of space, with the capsules on previous test flights reaching an altitude of more than 340,000 feet (or more than 100 kilometers).


The capsule spends as much as 10 minutes in zero gravity before returning to Earth, with massive windows to give passengers a view.


Blue Origin noted that "all mission crew supporting this launch are exercising strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel, customers, and surrounding communities."






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