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In these early days of commercial spaceflight, rockets die in spectacular accidents—but also, sometimes, on purpose. This morning, you can watch Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket go out in a fiery blaze of glory somewhere in the Texas desert, so that future space tourists don’t meet the same fate.
At least, that is probably how things will go down on the rocket’s fifth flight, an on-air test of the launch abort system that’ll separate the crew capsule from the New Shepard rocket’s booster at an altitude of 16,000 feet. The system is designed to propel humans to safety should anything go wrong with the blazing tube of fire they’re strapped to on their trip into orbit. In such an emergency, the capsule detaches from the booster, its engines fire for two seconds, parachutes deploy, and frightened human cargo floats safely back to Earth.
The booster itself probably won’t survive. It’ll be getting slammed with a lot of destabilizing, off-axis force as the crew capsule makes its daring getaway. Blue Origin fully expects the rocket to tumble back to terra firma and produce a spectacular fireball somewhere in the desert. If, somehow, the booster make it through the ordeal intact, Jeff Bezos has promised to retire its five flight veteran with dignity in a museum.
Either way, this launch abort system test should be well worth your while to watch. As Blue Origin wrote in a recent blog post, “Our next flight is going to be dramatic no matter how it ends.”
The action begins at 10:45 AM EDT (7:45 AM PDT) and you can follow along with us right here.
originally posted by: Aliensun
a reply to: jhn7537
So if it is a rather slow reacting problem with the booster, the capsule can maybe get away. But if it is an sudden explosion of the booster, it can be expected that the capsule won't survive either? I can imagine the capsule blasting away, but not quick enough and pin-wheeling at a terrific rate.
originally posted by: onehuman
Sweet, it looks like all is going well. AWESOME