Blue Origin has staged a successful unmanned test flight featuring the staged abort of the crew escape system on its suborbital launch vehicle, the New Shepard.
A separate landing of the launch vehicle’s reusable first-stage booster also was successful. The capsule was ejected just moments after the 10:45 a.m. EDT Oct. 5 test launch.
Blue Origin is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
“Wow, look at how smoothly it’s coming down,” a Blue Origin commentator enthused over video images of the parachuting crew capsule. “That’s beautiful.”
It was the Seattle-area spaceflight company’s fifth in a series of New Shepard test flights in a remote area of West Texas. In the most recent previous test, Blue Origin conducted a test in which one of the booster’s descent parachutes was forcibly made to fail.
Named in honor of the first American in space, Alan Shepard, the craft employs vertical takeoff and vertical landings, and is capable of carrying up to carry six persons.
It’s designed for eventual use in transporting “space tourists” on pricey trips to the Earth’s outer atmosphere. Blue Origin also is developing a spacecraft for orbital missions that it has dubbed the New Glenn.