New Shepard rocket launched by Blue Origin made a successful vertical landing back on Earth after its endeavor in space giving hope to commercial space travel.
Blue Origin, a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation accomplished a key goal most recently. The company announced on November 23rd from it base at Van Horn, Texas.
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On the next day the company announced that its New Shepard space vehicle had successfully flown to space. It had reached its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin briefed that the rocket flew a flawless mission. It soared to 329,839 feet and then returned through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four and a half feet from the center of the pad. Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.
“Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts—a used rocket,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin. “Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission—soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four and a half feet from the center of the pad. Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.”
The rocket was named after the first astronaut in space, Alan Shepard. After its successful flight the rocket will be used for commercial use. The vehicle is comprised of two elements; a crew capsule in which the astronauts ride and a rocket booster powered by a single American-made BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine.
At liftoff, the BE-3 delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust. During ascent, astronauts experience 3x the force of gravity as the spacecraft accelerates through the atmosphere. Blue Origin astronauts will experience the thrill of launch atop a rocket, the freedom of weightlessness, and views through the largest windows to ever fly in space. During ascent, astronauts experience 3x the force of gravity as the spacecraft accelerates through the atmosphere.
Following powered flight, the crew capsule separates from the booster and coasts into space, providing several minutes of weightlessness. As the crew capsule descends, it reenters the atmosphere with astronauts experiencing about 5x the force of gravity before deploying three main parachutes for landing. Meanwhile, the booster descends under guided flight to the landing pad. Just prior to landing, the booster re-ignites its BE-3 engine which slows the vehicle to 4.4 mph for a gentle, powered vertical landing, enabling vehicle reuse.
- Launched at 11:21 a.m. Central Time, November 23, 2015
- Apogee of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) for the crew capsule
- Mach 3.72
- Re-ignition of rocket booster at 4,896 feet above ground level
- Controlled vertical landing of the booster at 4.4 mph
- Deployment of crew capsule drogue parachutes at 20,045 feet above ground level
- Landing of the crew capsule under parachutes at 11:32 a.m. Central Time
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The company has launched a You Tube video documenting the take-off, an animated stimulation of what the flight in space will be like and the landing. The company will start counter checking and flight testing the shuttle. The space travel will be made public by the company soon.