COURTESY PHOTO, Blue Origin

COURTESY PHOTO, Blue Origin

Kent’s Blue Origin launches eighth test flight

Successful mission in Texas

Kent-based Blue Origin launched its New Shepard rocket for the eighth time on Sunday.

Blue Origin launched the rocket from its West Texas site. Known as Mission 8, it featured a reflight of the vehicle flown on Mission 7, according to Blue Origin’s website. The Crew Capsule reached an apogee of 351,000 feet (66 miles, 107 kilometers) – the altitude its been targeting for operations.

“One step closer,” tweeted Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and Amazon founder about the goal toward human spaceflight.

For the second time, Blue Origin’s test dummy Mannequin Skywalker flew to space conducting astronaut telemetry and science studies. The flight also carried research payloads for NASA, the German Aerospace Center and commercial customers, according to Blue Origin’s blog. New Shepard also had a successful flight in December.

Blue Origin’s engineering, manufacturing and business teams work in a 260,000 square-foot facility on 26 acres in Kent. The company’s engine and flight testing are done in West Texas (two hours east of El Paso) at its privately owned and operated launch site.

The company also has a 750,000 square-foot rocket-production factory in Florida at Exploration Park, an area at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in Brevard County.

Blue Origin plans to keep on growing in Kent as the aerospace company in December purchased 31 acres for $14.1 million across the street from its existing facility. The four parcels are along 76th Avenue South between South 212th Street to South 218th Street.

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