Blue Origin’s New Shepard joins the model-rocket pantheon

The Estes New Shepard model rocket uses standard model rocket launch equipment, including a single C6-3 or C6-5 engine. (Estes Industries via YouTube)

Rocket fans can soon follow in Jeff Bezos’ footsteps when it comes to owning a New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.

Just be warned that everything will be scaled down: the Blue Origin New Shepard model rocket unveiled by Estes Industries this week will be on a 1/66 scale and capable of climbing 400 feet instead of 100 km.

At the very least, it will bring the price down, too: instead of paying $ 1 billion a year to support Blue Origin’s development program for New Shepard, as well as New Glenn orbital-class rocket and advanced projects, buyers are being asked to buy one just $ 69.99.

Estes is partnering with Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s educational foundation, to offer New Shepard as a STEM teaching tool. Part of the sales proceeds go to the association.

“Our hope is that the new Estes The new Shepard model stimulates the imagination of future space explorers and inspires them to take on their own role in shaping the future of life in space, ”said Josef Reinke, director of the Club for the Future, in a press release.

Estes ‘pint-sized New Shepard is available for pre-order from Blue Origin’s online store as well as Estes’ website, with delivery expected in November.

Each box contains a Club for the Future postcard so kids can draw or write their visions of the future of life in space. The postcards can then be sent to the Club for the Future, who will send them on a New Shepard flight and then return them to the senders with an official-looking “flew into space” stamp.

This week’s announcement comes just over a month after Bezos and three crew members made a suborbital voyage into space in a New Shepard capsule, and coincides with today’s successful unmanned flight from another New Shepard known as RSS HG Wells, together.

New Shepard isn’t the first commercial rocket to be converted into a model rocket: a decade ago, Estes SpaceShipOne sold model rockets, paying tribute to that rocket plane’s historic space flights in 2004. And for a while, SpaceX sold model rockets versions of its workhorse Falcon 9.

Both kits are now collectibles.

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