Sunday, 19 August, 2018


Blue Origin will perform a high-altitude abort test at 10AM ET

Blue Origin New Shepard launch Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship blasts off for a high-altitude escape system test
Kristine Garrett | 19 July, 2018, 17:20

During the 2016 test, ignition of the escape motor did not noticeably affect the reusable booster, which continued to fire before shutting down normally and falling back to Earth for a rocket-powered upright landing.

As it continues to progress toward human flights, Blue Origin will perform another potentially unsafe uncrewed test today of its New Shepard rocket and spacecraft.

"Anything could have happened today, and this is the best possible outcome", said Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin's launch commentator. "Just another day at the office", she said.

The test flight also carried 12 payloads and even a passenger - specifically an instrumented dummy brilliantly named "Mannequin Skywalker". The rocket and crew capsule system is aimed at the suborbital tourism market, allowing paying customers to enjoy into a few minutes of zero-G flight prior to a parachute-assisted landing.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket company shot a capsule higher into space Wednesday than it's ever done before.

The test will simulate an emergency high altitude "escape motor" test.

Booster landing
New Shepard’s reusable booster comes in for a landing

This was the third trip to space for both this New Shepherd rocket booster and the crew capsule, both created to be reusable like SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster and Dragon capsules. As hoped, the capsule was able to stabilize itself after the blast for its descent through the atmosphere.

By the seventh test, the campaign featured a new next-generation booster - powered by its BE-3 engine - and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0, a spacecraft that featured real windows, measuring 2.4 x 3.6 feet.

Cornell said the test was an "important step in our march toward flying humans in space". The hardware used in previous tests has been retired and put on exhibit at Blue Origin's Florida rocket factory, where the orbital-class New Glenn rocket will be built.

Blue Origin is expected to conduct several more uncrewed tests in the months ahead, leading up to the first flight with Blue Origin's test astronauts.

Eventually, up to six passengers at a time could get on board the New Shepard spaceship, which flies under autonomous control.

Piloted test flights are expected to start later this year, but no target dates have been announced. The company has not said what the price of the tickets would be.

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