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article imageBlue Origin launches and lands New Shepard rocket

By Karen Graham     May 2, 2019 in Technology
Blue Origin successfully performed another test launch of its New Shepard system today. Both the New Shepard rocket and capsule touched down safely back at the company’s West Texas facility around 10 minutes after liftoff.
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket is named for Alan Shepard, the first American in space. He was one of NASA's first seven astronauts. He also walked on the moon.
New Shepard launched from the company's remote west-Texas flight test facility at 9:32 a.m. EDT, its powerful hydrogen-fueled BE-3 main engine igniting and quickly throttling up to boost the rocket into the clear blue Texas sky. The New Shepard sent the company's capsule to an altitude of 346,406 feet – more than 100 kilometers up.
At the top of its trajectory, the capsule and the 38 microgravity payloads it carried, many provided by NASA, experienced about four or five minutes of weightlessness. If the capsule had been filled with space tourists, this would have been the time where they would have experienced zero gravity.
After falling back into the heavier lower atmosphere, three large parachutes were deployed allowing for the capsule to make a low-speed touchdown. The rocket booster beat the capsule back to Earth, making a perfect tail-first landing on the cement landing pad.
Flight data shows the rocket reached nearly Mach 3 as it ascended, nearly three times the speed of sound, and the mission lasted just over 10 minutes.
Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Blue Origin developed the New Shepard for the company's space tourism business. The massive windows on the capsule allow up to six passengers to get an incredible view of space and Earth with their 10-minute journey to the edge of space.
Similar to SpaceX, Blue Origin is also into reusable rockets as a key to reducing the costs of space travel. Today's launch was the 11th flight of the New Shepard rocket system overall since Blue Origin's initial test flight in April 2015, and the fifth flight in a row for the booster and capsule launched Thursday.
More about blue origins, New Shepard, NASA payload, jeff bezos, Space tourism
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