Blue Origins, the private space company that is being backed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, carried out a victorious test of its New Shepard rocket and passenger spacecraft system. The pair reached the suborbital space and then turned back to Earth.
The New Shepard’s rocket booster and the crew capsule made contact with the surface after the booster was able to bring the capsule to the edge of space – 350,775 feet above the surface of the Earth. The New Shepard is also designed to be reusable similar to the Dragon launch system being used by SpaceX. By making it reusable, Blue Origins is saving a lot of money when it comes to sending humans and materials into space.
The rocket made use of a set of fins for making sure that it continued upright while coming back to earth once the crew capsule had been separated at the height of around 200,000 feet. It experienced free fall for some time and then made use of mechanical drag brakes for slowing down its descent.
At around 8,000 feet the New Shepard rocket fired again and used the thrust produced for slowing down the rocket and causing it hover above the ground. Once it was close enough, the rocket made use of a set of retractable legs for landing safely.
On the crew capsule that had separated; it spent a few minutes at the boundary to space. It housed many experiments that were created to take advantage of the span during which zero gravity would be experienced.
The capsule, interestingly enough, has the generous windows that have ever been made into a vessel that meets space. Once it began falling back to Earth, it relied on a two-stage parachuting system for reducing its decline at approximately 30,000 feet. When it made communication with the surface of the Earth, it was traveling at a speed of only 15 mph.