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Blue Origin launches rocket to space in extreme test of crew capsule

19 July 2018

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

On Wednesday's flight, Blue Origin says it will push the New Shepard rocket to its limits with a high-altitude escape motor test.

After launch, the reusable New Shepard booster will climb to an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers), the internationally-approved boundary of space, and then proceed to land nearby.

The solid-fuel "pusher" abort motor, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne with subsystems provided by Blue Origin, is created to quickly ignite on command from flight controllers or an on-board computer if safety software detects an impending booster malfunction, rapidly propelling the capsule and its crew away from the rocket with a jarring burst of acceleration.

Overall, this was Blue Origin's ninth test flight of a New Shepherd rocket.

While this test was unmanned, the reusable rocket is created to deliver payloads - and potentially tourists - to sub-orbital space.

However, Blue Origin rebuked the amount in a statement.

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Blue Origin has yet to announce when it will start taking reservations or how much flights will cost.

The launch was webcast live on Blue Origin's website.

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

Mission 9 will feature a crew capsule mounted on top of the rocket to carry the experiments as well as a dummy called "Mannequin Skywalker". Also, ticket prices for a trip into space haven't yet been decided, noted Cornell.

While testing with New Shepard continues, work on Blue Origin's next vehicle, the New Glenn is pressing on, albeit mainly away from the attention of the media. "We're going to be firing it in the vacuum of space for the first time", Cornell said. It's coming, but we've got our eye on the prize, and we've got to make sure we understand our system through and through. The experiment will record vehicle conditions including cabin pressure, temperature, CO2, acoustic conditions, and acceleration.

Those payloads some that flew previously, like the Schmitt Space Communicator developed by Solstar, a New Mexico company seeking to demonstrate the use of wifi communications technologies in space. The hardware used in previous tests has been retired and put on exhibit at Blue Origin's Florida rocket factory, where the orbital-class New Glenn rocket will be built.