These latest tests were also created to push the booster to its limit, which led to Blue Origin noting the potential they could lose the booster, not least during the focused testing on the escape system, centered around a solid motor firing for two seconds to fly the capsule free of a failing booster. It was the eighth time the company successfully tested the system for future passenger flights. About 20 seconds after the capsule separated, the capsule fired its solid-propellant escape motor in a planned test of its performance at high altitudes. Launch commentator Ariane Cornell promised it would be soon. It should start at 8 a.m. PT.
During the test flight, the rocket was loaded up with both the Blue Origin test dummy - nicknamed Mannequin Skywalker, which took its third flight to space today - and a host of science payloads.
The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown.
The reusable New Shepard booster is created to take off from a launch pad, climb to the internationally-recognized boundary of space at an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers), and land nearby with rocket thrust and aerobrakes.
Experiments hitching a ride on the test flight Wednesday include a privately-developed in-cabin WiFi transmitter, and a package of NASA sensors to measure cabin pressure, temperature, carbon dioxide levels, acoustic conditions, and acceleration inside the crew capsule.
If all goes well, the demonstration may well see Blue Origin closer to flying people on brief trips to space.
Blue Origin's New Shepard booster on its launch pad in West Texas. "We have not set ticket pricing and have had no serious discussions inside of Blue on the topic", said the statement. It's coming, but we've got our eye on the prize, and we've got to make sure we understand our system through and through.
One payload, called "Fly My Stuff", included personal items supplied by company employees.