Photo courtesy Blue Origin
From their isolated launch pad just north of Van Horn, officials with Blue Origin – Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ private space access company – announced the successful launch and recovery of their ‘New Shepard’ spacecraft.
During this mission, known as Mission 9 (M9), the escape motor was fired shortly after booster separation. The Crew Capsule was pushed hard by the escape test and we stressed the rocket to test that astronauts can get away from an anomaly at any time during flight.
Blue Origin officials said, “The mission was a success for both the booster and capsule. Most importantly, astronauts would have had an exhilarating ride and safe landing.”
According to officials, the test on M9 allowed their crews to finally characterize escape motor performance in the near-vacuum of space and guarantee that they can safely return our astronauts in any phase of flight.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve done this type of extreme testing on New Shepard. In October of 2012, we simulated a booster failure on the launch pad and had a successful escape…in October of 2016, we simulated a booster failure in-flight at Max Q, which is the most physically strenuous point in the flight for the rocket, and had a completely successful escape of the capsule.”
Also on M9, officials pointed out that New Shepard carried science and research payloads from commercial companies, universities and space agencies.