- Blue Origin is testing its New Shepard rocket for the ninth time.
- The test will simulate an emergency high altitude “escape motor” test.
- The launch was pulled off without a hitch: both the booster and the crew capsule returned to Earth.
While this test was unmanned, the reusable rocket is designed to deliver payloads – and potentially tourists – to sub-orbital space.
Blue Origin pushed the rocket to its limits during this test. 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.
It’s a situation that would only occur if the passenger capsule needed to boost away from the rocket booster in case of an emergency during launch.
Both the booster and the capsule survived the test, returning to Earth with a soft landing.
Here’s the booster:
And the crew capsule:
The launch included a number of different scientific instruments, medical items, and testing materials, along with Blue Origin’s “Fly My Stuff” program, where the company’s employees send their own materials into space.
Blue Origin successfully tested the rocket in April, launching a mannequin into space and returning it safely to the ground.
The first test passengers may fly on the rocket as early as this year, with the first paying customers set to fly by 2019.
Watch it here:
This post has been updated.
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