Blue Origin today launched its New Shepard launch vehicle with the intention of purposefully causing a booster failure to trigger the release of the crew capsule portion of the space vehicle.
The New Shepard launch vehicle is a reusable rocket, which had previously achieved four successful space flight and return missions. With Blue Origin’s intent to provide commercial space tourism, this was a critical method for testing the crew capsule safety abort process in preparation for an actual unplanned launch emergency.
In the case of an emergency or failure with the booster, the escape system triggers the detachment of the crew capsule. The crew capsule has its own rocket engine which fires to propel the capsule away from the rocket. Then, parachutes deploy for the descent to Earth. The test today experienced a successful departure from the booster and a crew capsule landing at 16 miles per hour. Additionally, the New Shepard rocket successfully continued to space and returned for its fifth vertical landing. Both the rocket and crew capsule will now be retired from future service.
VPT congratulates Blue Origin and applauds its safety test methods. With VPT parts on board, we are proud to be part of Blue Origin’s historical missions. More information can be viewed on Blue Origin’s website.