Blue Origin to push New Shepard safety regime with ninth test


Blue Origin to push New Shepard safety regime with ninth test

Andrew Cummings
July 18, 2018

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

The launch will also see the New Shepard rocket perform a high-altitude escape motor test to push the ship to its limit.

"Anything could have happened today, and this is the best possible outcome", said Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin's launch commentator. There is speculation that Bezos himself, the world's richest person, will be among the first people to fly on New Shepard. The launch, the ninth test flight in the overall New Shepard development program, was announced a day in advance by the company.

The booster and capsule - both repeat fliers - landed successfully. Though, the 10-second countdown begins at around the 35 minute mark.


The capsule parachuted down to the desert floor after reaching roughly 7,000 feet of altitude.

Blue Origin tested the motor at a lower altitude during a memorable flight back in October 2016, but the company's engineers wanted to make sure that the system would work as well at a higher altitude, where the atmosphere thins out to near-nothingness.

The testing on Flight 9 will once again focus on the safety systems.

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.


Other items aboard the flight include a NASA-funded vibration damping system to allow for more precise experiments in microgravity, an assortment of scientific, medical and textile materials from the Thai startup mu Space, and an allotment of mementos and other items provided by Blue Origin employees.

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

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.

"Crew Capsule looks great even after it was pushed hard by the escape test. Astronauts would have had an exhilarating ride and safe landing", Bezos said in a tweet. 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.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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