blue origin experiments
Blue Origin launched a commercial payload of experiments to space on Dec. 12, 2017. Blue Origin

The company Blue Origin launched and recovered one of its rockets and capsules earlier this month from its west Texas facility but released very little information about it beforehand. Afterward, Blue Origin founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, released a video of the launch.

But what viewers of the video didn’t know is that in addition to launching the New Shepard rocket and the Crew Capsule 2.0, the company also launched several experiments to space. The company announced Friday that on Dec. 12, it flew the New Shepard and launched a mission called “Mission 7” or “M7.”

This mission went to sub-orbital space with 12 commercial, research, and education experiments on board for the first time ever. The short 11-minute flight allowed the research to happen in a zero gravity environment for three minutes before the capsule came back to Earth, according to Blue Origin.

The payload included research from across the country from universities and kindergarten through 12 schools. All of the research was aimed at learning something new about how the experiments function in zero-gravity environments. One experiment from students in Colorado involved sending up a sensor package that could collect information about the environment in the capsule, as well as art that will be returned to the students.

The company offers the service of launching payloads to space for private customers and can launch anything from a few ounces to 50 lbs and has a system that can then monitor a host of factors while the experiment is in space.

Blue Origin hopes to use the capsule for human spaceflight soon. The flight is expected to last about 40 minutes and the New Shepard capsule has room for six inside to launch and then roam freely inside once the capsule reaches space.