Blue Origin successfully lands booster and crew capsule

Blue Origin New Shepard launch

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

The booster and spacecraft blasted off from the company's launch site in West Texas shortly after 11 a.m.

New Shepard is the first of a potential line of vehicles for Blue Origin.

While Blue Origin aims to carry humans in its crew capsules, a mannequin was used in this mission.

Executives at the company, which was started by Bezos in 2000, said the company planned to launch test flights beginning next year, Reuters reported.

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.

On Wednesday's flight, Blue Origin said it was carrying out several scientific experiments, including one to test the use of WiFi Internet access in space. 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". The team will then attempt to safely land the booster, as it did during a similar test back in 2016.

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

The testing on Flight 9 will once again focus on the safety systems.

Numerous payloads will be flying in the spacecraft during the test, ranging from worldwide customers, such as Thailand's "mu Space-1" - which includes an assortment of scientific and medical items, several textile materials they plan to use on their future space suit and apparel, and other special articles for their community partners - through to a suite of payloads from Blue Origin employees as a part of their internal "Fly My Stuff" program. The site also featured a payload manifest for the mission. The experiment will record vehicle conditions including cabin pressure, temperature, CO2, acoustic conditions, and acceleration.

This launch was the ninth for the New Shepard program, and the third for this particular combination of crew capsule and propulsion module.

Blue Origin has completed a sprawling rocket factory near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to build New Glenn rockets and is developing a launch pad at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Those missions will rely on the bigger, more powerful New Glenn rocket still under development.

During the launch, Blue Origin engineers were looking for the "red line" on that system, company spokesperson Ariane Cornell said on a webcast during the run-up to the launch, comparing it to the high-stress tests that cars and airplanes undergo before being put on sale.

New Shepard's reusable booster comes in for a landing.

Latest News