Blue Origin subjects its rocket to high-altitude escape test

19 July, 2018, 07:43 | Author: Grady Montgomery

Jeff Bezos' rocket company Blue Origin launched its New Shepard rocket for the ninth time. Although it has not yet provided details, the company says it will fly "a high altitude escape motor test-pushing the rocket to its limits". Its effectiveness is essential to ensuring the safety of any people who might ride aboard the capsule in the future.

The company plans to start selling tickets next year for passengers to take short flights just past the edge of space, where they would experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

The test will simulate an emergency high altitude "escape motor" test. That's 74 miles or 119 kilometers. Such systems are created to fire quickly and separate the crew capsule from the booster during an emergency.

As it continues to progress toward human flights, Blue Origin will perform another potentially risky uncrewed test today of its New Shepard rocket and spacecraft. Unlike NASA's Mercury and Apollo spacecraft, which jettisoned their escape rockets before reaching orbit, Blue Origin's is built into the capsule.

Today's mission was created to test the high-altitude escape motor of New Shepard's crew capsule, said representatives of Blue Origin, which is run by founder Jeff Bezos.

"It's an important test in our march towards flying humans into space, which hopefully will be soon", Ariane Cornell, head of astronaut strategy and sales at Blue Origin, during a company webcast of the test.

The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown.

Eventually, up to six passengers at a time could get on board the New Shepard spaceship, which flies under autonomous control.

While testing with New Shepard continues, work on Blue Origin's next vehicle, the New Glenn is pressing on, albeit mainly away from the attention of the media. "It's coming", she said. A separate employee said prices would begin at $200,000, according to Reuters.

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.

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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