Up, up, and away! Blue Origin repeat success. January 22, 2016 liftoff from West Texas launch site. Credit: Blue Origin

Up, up, and away! Blue Origin repeat success. January 22, 2016 liftoff from West Texas launch site.
Credit: Blue Origin

 

Chalk up yet another victory for Blue Origin, the “start-up and go” rocket company backed by Amazon.com founder and moneymaker, Jeff Bezos.

“The very same New Shepard booster that flew above the Karman line and then landed vertically at its launch site last November has now flown and landed again, demonstrating reuse,” reported Bezos via blog.

 

 

“This time, New Shepard reached an apogee of 333,582 feet (101.7 kilometers) before both capsule and booster gently returned to Earth for recovery and reuse,” Bezos explained.

The January 22, 2016 flight of the suborbital space tourism booster occurred at the West Texas launch site of Blue Origin.

“Launch. Land. Repeat” is the mantra from the rocketeers. “Our vision: millions of people living and working in space. You can’t get there by throwing the hardware away.”

After stabilizing the crew capsule, the drogue parachutes extract the main parachutes for landing. Credit: Blue Origin

After stabilizing the crew capsule, the drogue parachutes extract the main parachutes for landing.
Credit: Blue Origin

New strategy

“Though wings and parachutes have their adherents and their advantages, I’m a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing,” Bezos said.

Data from last November’s mission, Bezos added, “matched our preflight predictions closely, which made preparations for today’s re-flight relatively straightforward.”

Bezos said that, thanks to new software, rather than the vehicle translating to land at the exact center of the pad, it now initially targets the center, but then sets down at a position of convenience on the pad, prioritizing vehicle attitude ahead of precise lateral positioning.

“New Shepard landings show this new strategy increases margins, improving the vehicle’s ability to reject disturbances created by low-altitude winds,” Bezos explained.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. Credit: Blue Origin

Blue Origin’s New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph.
Credit: Blue Origin

 

Orbital vehicle

Bezos made note of work on Blue Origin’s orbital vehicle.

“We’re already more than three years into development of our first orbital vehicle,” Bezos advised. “Though it will be the small vehicle in our orbital family, it’s still many times larger than New Shepard. I hope to share details about this first orbital vehicle this year.”

 

Check out the posted video of the new test flight at:

https://www.blueorigin.com/news#youtube74tyedGkoUc

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