Published: Thu, July 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By Bennie Mills

Blue Origin test flight simulates space launch emergency

Blue Origin test flight simulates space launch emergency

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. CT (11 a.m. ET) from the company's West Texas launch site.

Blue Origin, the aerospace company backed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, completed a test Wednesday of a new motor during a blastoff from its launchpad in west Texas.

These latest tests were also created to push the booster to its limit, which led to Blue Origin noting the potential they could lose the booster, not least during the focused testing on the escape system, centered around a solid motor firing for two seconds to fly the capsule free of a failing booster.

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic also plans to start flying paying customers to space on suborbital flights. The goal: to test the altitude escape motor, the motor that would engage if astronauts needed to make a fast getaway due to some unforeseen circumstances in space. It should start at 8 a.m. PT.

With its booster on its landing pad in the background, the New Shepard crew capsule descends to touchdown after its dramatic test flight.

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It's also not yet known how much Blue Origin plans to charge for rides in a New Shepard capsule.

However, Blue Origin rebuked the amount in a statement.

New Shepard's reusable booster comes in for a landing.

The launch included a number of different scientific instruments, medical items, and testing materials, along with Blue Origin's "Fly My Stuff" program, where the company's employees send their own materials into space.

"Anything could have happened today, and this is the best possible outcome", launch commentator Ariane Cornell said.

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Mannequin Skywalker had a smooth landing, Cornell reported. "It's coming", she said.

The booster and capsule - both repeat fliers - landed successfully.

The company's Florida team was watching today's webcast, as was the team at Blue Origin's headquarters in Kent, Wash., where New Shepard hardware is manufactured. That first crewed flight could take place before the end of the year.

The uncrewed test flight is the third one using Blue Origin's most recent model of the single-stage vehicle.

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. The company has not said what the price of the tickets would be.

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