Thursday, 2 May 2019

Touchdown! Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin nails two smooth landings as its New Shepard rocket booster AND capsule return to Earth after 11th test flight

Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has wrapped up its 11th launch and landing, after what the team has hailed a 'wholly successful flight.'
The firm’s reusable New Shepard rocket lifted off from the West Texas launch site shortly after 9:30 a.m. (EDT) Thursday morning and climbed to an altitude of roughly 346,000 feet before returning back to Earth.
It touched back down in a 'nice soft landing,' marking the fifth time this particular New Shepard booster has gone to space and back.
The capsule, which separated prior to apogee and briefly allowed the on-board payloads to experience 'some nice, clean microgravity,' deployed its parachutes and landed not long after.
'A beautiful, beautiful launch and landing of the booster and the capsule today,' said Blue Origin's Arianne Cornell during live coverage of the launch.
While there weren't any people on board, New Shepard took off carrying 38 microgravity research payloads, including a slew of classroom-developed projects from the non-profit Teachers in Space.
This also includes nine NASA-supported payloads, according to the space agency.
‘It’s such a huge milestone,’ said Teachers in Space President Elizabeth Kennick ahead of the flight.
‘This opens the door to flying more experiments for more schools, and that means exposing more teachers and students to the promise of spaceflight.’

Flights like this give researchers a chance to put their experiments to the test of a zero-gravity environment, providing critical insight on how the projects would hold up in exploration missions, NASA says.
‘Touchdown! This is the 11th landing of a New Shepard booster, and the 5th landing for this particular vehicle,’ Blue Origin tweeted after Thursday’s launch.
‘Congrats to the Blue Origin team on what looks to be another wholly successful flight,’ the company added.
Blue Origin is one of the handful of private companies now vying to put tourists in space.
Led by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the firm has said it’s hoping to get its first paying passenger on board as soon as this year.

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