December 3, 2021

Dress rehearsal for the New Shepard crewed flights is a success for Blue Origin

3 min read

On April 14, Blue Origin conducted another flight test of the New Shepard aircraft, bringing the business closer to flying citizens. At 12:51 p.m. Eastern, Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle took off from the firm’s West Texas test point, dubbed Launch Site One by the firm. The capsule achieved a peak altitude of around 106 kilometers after splitting from its booster after the takeoff’s driven process and then parachuted to a soft landing 10.5 minutes after takeoff, three minutes after the booster was able to make a powered landing.

The mission’s flight profile, codenamed NS-15 by the manufacturer, was quite similar to previous test flights. The events before as well as after the flight became the most notable variations with this flight, as the organization reviewed protocols for future crewed flights. Four Blue Origin workers dressed as customers headed to the pad with the other staff 45 minutes before takeoff, simulating the events that will take place before a real crewed flight. Before departing, two of them were able to board the capsule, strapped in, and checked communications. Before the uncrewed spacecraft exploded, they vacated the launchpad and headed to mission control.

Those workers returned to the spacecraft after the landing; in this scenario, to verify the procedure astronauts would use to leave the capsule at the completion of the mission.  Blue Origin used the webcast to provide more information regarding its human spaceflight activities. Customers will arrive three days prior to a mission for testing and remain in facilities located across the highway from the launch facility.

The six space explorers flying on the New Shepard mission will be joined by “CrewMember 7,” the Blue Origin worker, during training as well as final launch arrangements. There will be two staff in this position: one will follow the astronauts as they buckle onto the spacecraft, and the other will work in mission control as a capcom or even capsule communicator. Instead of passengers, the NS-14 flight held the firm’s “Mannequin Skywalker” anthropomorphic test unit and over 25,000 student postcards. According to the webcast, after the research software is completed, Blue Origin plans to donate Mannequin Skywalker to the United States Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

It’s unclear when the pilot program will conclude, as well as commercial crewed flights will start. During the case, the organization provided no information on its flight plan for company employees or clients. It also didn’t say when it would start selling tickets or how much they would cost.

On the other hand, officials from the firm have continued to suggest that crewed missions would begin soon, although years later than expected. “At Blue Origin, we’re so close to being able to fly passengers. During Blue Origin’s Livestream of the NS-15 launch, Ariane Cornell, who serves as the director in charge of astronaut and orbital sales, stated, “This is a very, very significant milestone on our march to the first human flight.” “It’s almost as though you can taste it.”

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