Kent-based Blue Origin demonstrated the versatility of the New Shepard system by taking eight NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space on Wednesday.
“A perfect day,” Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos posted on Twitter. “New Shepard has now racked up 10 consecutive successful launches, 9 consecutive successful booster landings, 3 consecutive successful escape tests, and 11 consecutive successful crew capsule landings (including a pad escape).
“Today’s mission was the 4th flight of this particular tail number – all with minimal refurbishment between flights. Step by step, we’re getting close to human flight. And all of this learning is being incorporated into New Glenn too. I did wear my lucky boots today, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually the incredible @BlueOrigin team.”
The rocket-capsule lifted off from Blue Origin’s Texas test site. The rocket came back from space to earth for a vertical touchdown. The capsule landed a short bit later aided by parachutes.
This flight was dedicated to NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, an essential program for researchers providing access to microgravity for technology development, according to a Blue Origin website post. Blue supports NASA’s Flight Opportunities program and its role in perfecting technology for a future human presence in space.
New Shepard’s reusability is lowering launch costs and creating routine access to space. Lowering the cost of microgravity research increases the opportunities for universities, government researchers and entrepreneurs to test payloads and technologies in space.
The launch was the 10th successful mission for the New Shepard program and the fourth flight for this vehicle. Blue Origin called it another great practice run towards regular payload flights with its growing fleet of launch vehicles.
Flying New Shepard more frequently is critically important to the future of Blue Origin. It moves the company toward its ultimate goal to lower the cost of access to space and move heavy industry off Earth so space can be used to benefit Earth.
Additionally, the continued success and proven stability of this configuration on a subscale confirms Blue Origin is using the methods, operations and technology needed for its larger scale programs.
In an upcoming mission, New Shepard will take payloads to space from around the world.
Blue Origin’s engineering, manufacturing and business teams work in a 260,000 square-foot facility on 26 acres in Kent. Bezos, also the founder of Amazon, is expanding the Kent facility after buying 31 acres in 2017 along 76th Avenue South between South 212th Street and South 218th Street.
Watch the launch by clicking this link.