Blue Origin successfully tests escape system in latest New Shepard launch

Blue Origin successfully tests escape system in latest New Shepard launch

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. Its effectiveness is essential to ensuring the safety of any people who might ride aboard the capsule in the future.

The test will simulate an emergency high altitude "escape motor" test.

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

Both the booster and capsule that sits atop the rocket successfully returned to Earth. The launch from Blue Origin's test site in West Texas is set to occur at 14:00 UTC - with the test campaign now in the final leg ahead of carrying paying customers. "We are stressing the rocket to test that astronauts can get away from an anomaly at any time during flight", the company said in a statement yesterday (July 17). The Reuters news agency, quoting an unnamed source, recently reported that tickets were expected to initially cost between $200,000 and $300,000, making it competitive with rides aboard the winged spaceplane Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is developing.

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

Booster landing
New Shepard’s reusable booster comes in for a landing

"We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic". "Just another day at the office", she said.

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

This is the ninth test of the reusable New Shepard system and the third in which it has included commercial payloads on its short suborbital flights. There is speculation that Bezos himself, the world's richest person, will be among the first people to fly on New Shepard.

With the production facility at Exploration Park all-but ready to start producing New Glenn hardware, work is also now taking place on the LC-11 and LC-36 pad facilities from which the rocket will be tested and launched from.

This year has already been packed with rocket launches, and many of those have come from SpaceX.

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