Blue Origin's next test launch could destroy rocket to test crew escape system

The company’s fifth test launch, scheduled for October, will test its emergency escape system, which includes firing a rocket motor that could destroy the rocket booster.

    2016/09/13

NSFW    EL PASO, TEXAS — Private space company Blue Origin will be conducting its next round of testing on its New Shepard rocket in October.

The reusable rocket is designed to take paying passengers to the edge of space. New Shepard consists of a crew capsule that can carry up to six passengers and a rocket booster. Once near its destination, the capsule separates from the booster. The capsule will then deploy its parachutes and sail down back to earth, while the booster will deploy its drag brakes and refire its engine making a vertical landing.

Blue Origin has already successfully completed four test flights of its rocket booster. The fifth test to be held at the company’s testing facility in West Texas, near El Paso, will check its emergency escape system during flight.

The New Shepard’s capsule is equipped with a rocket motor that will fire for two seconds should the booster fail after launch. The motor will quickly separate the capsule from the booster. Once away, the capsule will undergo its standard descent pattern.

Blue Origin has already tested the system on the ground, but has yet to experiment during flight. At about 45 seconds after launch, when the New Shepard is at 16,000 feet up, the company will intentionally start the capsule’s escape sequence.

Unfortunately, if the emergency testing succeeds, firing the rocket motor could possibly destroy the rocket booster.
Private space company Blue Origin will launch another test flight in October. BLUE ORIGIN
Private space company Blue Origin will launch another test flight in October. BLUE ORIGIN
This time, the company will test its emergency escape system mid-flight. BLUE ORIGIN
This time, the company will test its emergency escape system mid-flight. BLUE ORIGIN
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