Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Aces Important Test

Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Aces Important Test

During the launch, Blue Origin engineers were looking for the "red line" on that system, company spokesperson Ariane Cornell said on a webcast during the run-up to the launch, comparing it to the high-stress tests that cars and airplanes undergo before being put on sale.

The New Shepard rocket blasted off from West Texas on the company's latest test flight.

The team will then attempt to safely land the booster, as it did during a similar test back in 2016.

"Just another day at the office", said Cornell.

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This launch was the ninth for the New Shepard program, and the third for this particular combination of crew capsule and propulsion module.

Blue Origin, the Kent-based rocket maker, launched its New Shepard rocket Wednesday on a test flight from West Texas.

Although Blue Origin is yet to provide details, it is understood the company has already purchased the first landing ship for returning New Glenn boosters. There's no denying that SpaceX is leading the private spaceflight industry at the moment, but Blue Origin is still grinding away in the hopes that it can be one of the first to offer its services to high-paying clients.

Wednesday's passenger was Mannequin Skywalker, an instrumented dummy in a blue flight suit that's flown before, plus science experiments.

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The launch was pulled off without a hitch: both the booster and the crew capsule returned to Earth.

Strapped into reclining seats at launch, the New Shepard passengers will be able to unstrap and briefly float about the cabin near the top of its trajectory when they will experience five to six minutes of weightlessness and enjoy the view from the largest windows ever built into an operational spacecraft. "At Blue Origin, we're all about safety", she said. "We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic", said the statement.

Those payloads some that flew previously, like the Schmitt Space Communicator developed by Solstar, a New Mexico company seeking to demonstrate the use of wifi communications technologies in space.

Blue Origin has completed a sprawling rocket factory near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to build New Glenn rockets and is developing a launch pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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At the time of publishing, Blue Origin Origin did not reply to questions about how many more tests flights are needed before testing with humans begins.

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