Blue Origin plans high-altitude escape test on suborbital launch Wednesday

Blue Origin plans high-altitude escape test on suborbital launch Wednesday

A team of engineers in West Texas is preparing Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard booster for launch Wednesday on an uncrewed test flight aimed at demonstrating a key safety feature for space tourists and scientists riding on future rockets soaring to the edge of space.

The ninth New Shepard test took place on July 18 at Blue Origin's facilities in West Texas, with the new generation rocket blasting off from its launchpad at 11 a.m. ET.

Sir Richard Branson founder of Virgin Galactic with his Spaceship Two and White Knight Two carrier aircraft
Blue Origin plans high-altitude escape test on suborbital launch Wednesday

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

"Anything could have happened today, and this is the best possible outcome", Blue Origin the launch commentator Ariane Cornell said during the live webcast of Mission 9, available in the video below and which started airing 20 minutes after the New Shepard was launched. Bezos, its founder, heads up Amazon. "This, combined with the data from the first flight, should provide an extensive set of parameters of the test environment".

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Neither Virgin nor Blue Origin's passengers will find themselves orbiting the Earth: instead, their weightless experience will last just minutes.

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

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At this altitude, the sky looks dark and the curvature of the earth can be seen clearly. On a standard mission, the craft separates from the rocket after engine cutoff and lands with the aid of parachutes. The New Glenn could launch on its maiden flight from Cape Canaveral by the end of 2020. Bezos has said the company's ultimate goal is to help get millions of people living and working in space. Blue Origin tested the same procedure in October 2016, only the previous emergency motor test was conducted at low altitude. "We have a flight test schedule and schedules of those types always have uncertainties and contingencies".

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