Blue Origin Launches Same Rocket For The Fourth Time

Launching at 10:36AM ET (14:36PM UTC) on the 19th June 2016, Blue Origin launched for the fourth time the same rocket which had previously flown three times before. This was a demanding mission for Blue, due to the rocket itself preparing itself once again to fly above the Karman Line, and of the fail-safe testing which would be demanding for the capsule itself.

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New Shepard Before Touchdown

In addition to the launch occurring, there was another first for the launch, Blue Origin finally listened to many space fans, and likely a change of heart from the CEO Jeff Bezos, resulting in this experimental space flight being the first televised launch by the company. Watch the Full Replay of the Webcast Here. This was a big move by the company, as they have been known for their secrecy and only making news public when they felt was necessary. It was a welcomed move by many and this allowed the company to finally be more open about their aspirations and future plans.

With lift off delayed slightly than originally stated, New Shepard launched at 10:36AM ET (14:36PM UTC) heading towards the Karman Line, and beginning what would be its most demanding mission to date. Max-Q (better known as Maximum Aerodynamic Force) was met at approximately a minute within to flight and MECO (Main Engine Cut-Off) occurred at 2 minutes into Flight. A coast period to apogee then occurred. If humans were aboard this flight, they would have had around 4 minutes of weightlessness.

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Capsule Just Before Touchdown

As the capsule and the first stage returned to the ground that they just left 10 minutes before hand, both were on different objectives, but both were aiming to return both valuable data and return themselves for reflight at a later date. The first to land on this mission was the booster stage, coming in from apogee, and maxing out at the speed over 2000 mph. This booster successfully landed in the centre of the landing pad which the booster was aiming for. It is understood that this booster will fly again at a later date, however this will be after the data has been collected, and that the lessons learnt have been placed on this and future boosters. Additionally, this flight was pushing the safety boundaries of the capsule, and Blue Origin was attempting to test what would occur if one of the three parachutes failed to deploy and whether or not the capsule is capable of landing in a safe manner. From the webcast, it seems that the test was a success and the capsule was able to land. Data from this test will be fed into the data which was simulated beforehand, and will be used to support any changes which may be needed to allow the safe return of the astronauts/customers which fly on the New Shepard.

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