Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Blue Origin tests new motor during blastoff from Texas facility

Nellie Chapman | 18 July, 2018, 23:09

Overall, this was Blue Origin's ninth test flight of a New Shepherd rocket.

The high-altitude escape motor test is created to simulate what would happen if there was a problem with the launch vehicle during ascent. The rocket performed a "high altitude escape motor test", the company said on Twitter, simulating a high-altitude emergency scenario by igniting the escape booster on the bottom of the passenger, or in this case, payload capsule.

Blue Origin didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. It should start at 8 a.m. PT.

Blue Origin successfully tested the rocket in April, launching a mannequin into space and returning it safely to the ground. Although some reports suggest the price of a ticket could be in the $200,000-to-$300,000 range, Blue Origin says no price has yet been set and no reservations are yet being taken.

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

It is a so-called "full envelope" abort system, meaning it is created to operate in all phases of flight, from ground level to high altitudes and any point in between.

After launch, the reusable New Shepard booster will climb to an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers), the internationally-approved boundary of space, and then proceed to land nearby.

Blue Origin has now tested its powerful escape system at low, mid level and high altitudes, building confidence the spacecraft and its eventual passengers can, in fact, survive a catastrophic in-fight booster failure. (Blue Origin via YouTube) The New Shepard capsule makes its descent.

The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown. "We are really curious how microgravity affects the structure and properties of things, and we hope this flight will help us understand the science behind it", said James Yenbamroong, chief executive and founder of mu Space, in a preflight statement.

If all goes well, the demonstration may well see Blue Origin closer to flying people on brief trips to space. "But we've got our eyes on the prize". "Just another day at the office", she said. Meanwhile, today's mission 9 included, for the first time ever, employee cargo from the firm's "Fly My Stuff" program.

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.