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Blue Origin Spaceflight Requires One Hell of a Fit Body, Here Are the Specs
It won’t be long now until the first flight into space of an individual who hasn’t specifically trained for this will take place. Sometime in the next six months (they said July 20, but one never knows with these things) Blue Origin will launch the New Shepard rocket and what it calls the RSS First Step Crew Capsule in its first crewed mission. On board will be five astronauts selected by Blue Origin, accompanied by the winner of an online auction currently in progress.

Blue Origin Spaceflight Requires One Hell of a Fit Body, Here Are the Specs

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At the time of writing, the highest someone is willing to pay to get a seat on the New Shepard is $2.8 million, but that’s likely to go even higher as the auction progresses.

Before it lets you auction, Blue Origin needs you to confirm you understood the terms and conditions of the mission. There are pages upon pages of legal mumbo jumbo informing everyone about the rights and obligations of the wannabe astronauts, warnings on what people are about to get themselves into, and a very long list of fitness, health and physical requirements that must be met. And that’s what we’re focusing on here.

If you thought going to space would be as easy as just paying these guys some money and getting on board, think again. The first thing Blue Origin will do is screen the passenger to make sure they fit the physical criteria.

The wannabe astronaut must be, of course, at least 18 years old. They must come in between 5’0” and 6’4” in height (1.52 to 1.93 meters tall) and weigh between 110 and 223 lbs (50 to 101 kg) - these measurements are needed for the person to be able to fit inside a one-piece, zip-up flight suit.

Although it’s extremely difficult to determine this without being tested, the astronaut must be able to withstand three gs for up to two minutes during ascent. That would be like being squashed into the seat by something weighing three times as much as their own weight. Blue Origin warns there may be times when the astronaut will experience 5.5 gs.

One also needs to be able to hear and understand commands in English in an environment where sound levels can be as high as 100 dB.

As far as fitness is concerned, this might prove to be a little tricker. The individual must be able to climb the New Shepard launch tower in 90 seconds. That might seem like enough time, but consider that is like going up the equivalent of 7 flights of stairs. They must also be able to fasten or unfasten the harness in under 15 seconds, an operation Blue Origin describes being as difficult as doing the same with the seat belt in an unfamiliar car in the dark.

The wannabe astronaut must be able to sit up to 90 minutes strapped into a reclined seat, without being allowed to get up, not even to use the bathroom. They must do all this alongside another five strangers going through the same ordeal, inside a closed capsule.

As for what the travelers are expected to do during the flight, Blue Origin says it will provide familiarization and training. This will take place in Kent, Washington, in Culberson County, Texas, “or in some other location that Blue Origin deems appropriate.” The company will assess if each individual meets the above criteria before the flight, and may “remove the astronaut from the flight” if they are not met.

If the astronauts pass though, they're in for the trip of a lifetime. New Shepard will launch with the Crew Capsule attached and climb to 220,000 feet (67 km) where separation will occur. From there, the capsule will climb even further, to 328,000 feet (100 km), where weightlessness will set in. After a short time spent at the edge of space, the capsule and its crew will return back to Earth to land using parachutes.

As said, for now the first Blue Origin crewed flight is scheduled for July 20, but that may change depending on a variety of factors.

 
 
 
 
 

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