Blue Origin Successfully Launches New Shepard Rocket for High-Altitude Emergency Abort Test

Blue Origin Successfully Launches New Shepard Rocket for High-Altitude Emergency Abort Test

Blue Origin will once again be putting a mannequin onboard the New Shepard capsule today to measure the various forces it feels as it rides the powerful rocket skyward. Its effectiveness is essential to ensuring the safety of any people who might ride aboard the capsule in the future.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to webcast Wednesday's test flight, which is set for takeoff at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT; 9 a.m. CDT) from the company's sprawling test site north of Van Horn, Texas, around 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of El Paso.

The climax of the uncrewed test flight came shortly after New Shepard's capsule separated from its booster and switched on its 70,000-pound-thrust escape rocket motor.

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.

Blue Origin's New Shepard spaceship blasts off for a high-altitude escape system test.

"We'll be doing a high altitude escape motor test - pushing the rocket to its limits", noted Blue Origin ahead of the test.

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

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Blue Origin's New Shepard booster on its launch pad in West Texas.

It's part of a safety system meant to save lives once space tourists and others climb aboard for suborbital hops.

On Wednesday's flight, Blue Origin said it was carrying out several scientific experiments, including one to test the use of WiFi Internet access in space.

The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown. "Just another day at the office", she said. The company has yet to start selling tickets for the vehicle and has not established an official price for those flights. "But we've got our eyes on the prize".

Cornell didn't offer a timetable for crewed flights beyond "soon" during the webcast but said they could begin "after a couple more tests". The experiment will record vehicle conditions including cabin pressure, temperature, CO2, acoustic conditions, and acceleration.

LC-11 will be used to test fire New Glenn engines, while LC-36 will be the launch site for the orbital rocket that is being placed to take on other vehicles in its class, such as those from SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.

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