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Aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard: My Imaginary Journey to Space

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The reclining seats are so soft, I might want to take a nap here — but I'm sure the rocket underneath me will jolt me awake. That was my first thought as I settled into a chair aboard a mockup of the New Shepard capsule, which will carry passengers on short trips into space for billionaire Jeff Bezos' private spaceflight company Blue Origin. While I didn't get to go to space, I did get to dream about what the trip might be like. The capsule looks like most of NASA's human-spaceflight capsules — it's sort of a cross between a cylinder and a trapezoid. Entering is a little uncomfortable — the entry hatch is about half the height of a typical doorway, so I have to stoop a little to enter. The floor inside drops down about a foot from the bottom of the opening, which is also awkward. But, I'm thinking, it’s a totally forgivable inconvenience in a vehicle that's built to go to space. Ariane Cornell, head of astronaut strategy and sales for Blue Origin, talks about the interior of the New Shepard human spaceflight capsule at the 33rd annual Space Symposium. Ariane Cornell, head of astronaut strategy and sales for Blue Origin, talks about the interior of the New Shepard human spaceflight capsule at the 33rd annual Space Symposium. There are six chairs lined up around the capsule's perimeter. Each one bumps up against a huge window — the largest windows to ever go to space, according to Blue Origin. The seats are tilted back like a dentist's chair, but they bend where the person's knees are, which makes me sink into the seat easily. Even though the mockup doesn't include seat belts, I feel like I'm being held securely in place, both by the chair's shape and the built-in flaps and bumpers that line both of its sides. The seats are covered with the same kind of supersoft leather that's used for first-class seats on commercial airliners, according to Ariane Cornell, head of astronaut strategy and sales for Blue Origin, who led a media tour of the capsule at the 33rd annual Space Symposium. The soft leather, combined with the supportive shape of the seats, makes me feel so comfortable that I'm tempted to take a nap. But then suddenly, I hear the engine roar.

Read More: Space.com

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