New Shephard Rocket System – UPSC Prelims

New Shephard Rocket System:

  • New Shephard is a rocket system that has been designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.
  • New Shephard has been named after astronaut Alan Shephard, the first American to go to space, and offers flights to space over 100 km above the Earth and accommodation for payloads.
  • The idea is to provide easier and more cost-effective access to space meant for purposes such as academic research, corporate technology development and entrepreneurial ventures among others.
  • It is built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s Space Company called Blue Origin.

Karman line

  • The Karman line is an attempt to define a boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
  • The line is named after Theodore von Kármán (1881–1963), a Hungarian American engineer and physicist, who was active primarily in aeronautics and astronautics.
  • He was the first person to calculate the altitude at which the atmosphere becomes too thin to support aeronautical flight and arrived at 83.6 km (51.9 miles) himself.

Locating the line

  • The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) defines Karman Line as the altitude of 100 kilometres (62 miles; 330,000 feet) above Earth’s mean sea level.
  • However, other organizations do not use this definition. There is no international law defining the edge of space, and therefore the limit of national airspace.
  • For instance, the US Air Force and NASA define the limit to be 50 miles (80 km) above sea level.
  • The line is approximately at the turbopause above which atmospheric gases are not well-mixed.
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