Blue Origin’s Successful Space Launch and Recovery of New Shepard Spacecraft   Leave a comment


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Blue Origin is an American privately-funded aerospace developer and manufacturer set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal of dramatically lower cost and increased reliability. It is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company motto is “Gradatim Ferociter”, Latin for “Step-by-Step, Ferociously”. Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space. The company’s name refers to the blue planet, Earth, as the point of origin.

Initially focused on sub-orbital spaceflight, the company has built and flown a testbed of its New Shepard spacecraft design at their Culberson County, Texas facility. The first developmental test flight of the New Shepard was April 29, 2015. The uncrewed vehicle flew to its planned test altitude of more than 307,000 feet (93,500 meters) and achieved a top speed of Mach 3.

Late 2014 public announcements, and a contractual agreement to build a new rocket engine for major US launch system operator United Launch Alliance (ULA), have put Blue Origin into the middle of the orbital spaceflight technology business, as a rocket engine supplier.

In September 2015, Blue Origin announced plans to manufacture and fly its orbital launch vehicle from the Florida Space Coast.

As of April 2015, ULA is also considering the BE-3 for use in a new second stage—the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES)—which will become the primary upper stage for ULA’s Vulcan orbital launch vehicle in the 2020s. The Vulcan will begin orbital flights in 2019 with an existing Centaur upper stage, and is considering three engines from various manufacturers for the ACES stage which would begin flight in 2023

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New Shepard launch November 23, 2015

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The New Shepard is a fully-reusable, vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle composed of two principal parts: a pressurized crew capsule and a booster rocket that Blue Origin calls a propulsion module. The New Shepard is controlled entirely by on-board computers, without ground control.

Crew capsule

The pressurized crew capsule can carry six persons, and supports a “full-envelope” launch escape system that can separate the capsule from the booster rocket anywhere during the ascent. Interior volume of the capsule is 15 cubic meters (530 cu ft).

 

 

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Propulsion module

The New Shepard propulsion module is powered using a Blue Origin BE-3 bipropellant rocket engine burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, although some early development work was done by Blue Origin on engines operating with other propellants: the BE-1 engine using monopropellant hydrogen peroxide; and the BE-2 engine using high-test peroxide oxidizer and RP-1 kerosene fuel.

 

 

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60 feet in height

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The New Shepard system will take astronauts to space on suborbital journeys.

It includes a Crew Capsule carrying six astronauts atop a separate rocket-powered Propulsion Module, launched from the firm’s West Texas Launch Site.

Following liftoff, the combined vehicles accelerate for approximately two and a half minutes.

The Propulsion Module then shuts off its rocket engines and separates from the Crew Capsule. The Propulsion Module will finish its flight, descend to Earth, and autonomously perform a rocket-powered vertical landing.

The Crew Capsule will go on to coast to the edge of space, providing astronauts with a view to the curvature of the Earth and the beauty of our planet.

After descent and re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, the Crew Capsule will land under parachutes no more than a few miles from the launch site.

In addition, the New Shepard vehicle will provide opportunities for researchers to fly experiments into space and a microgravity environment.

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The first flight of the New Shepard vehicle was conducted on 29 April 2015 during which an altitude of 93,500 meters (307,000 ft) was attained. While the test itself was deemed a success and the capsule was correctly recovered via parachute landing, the booster stage landing failed because hydraulic pressure was lost during the descent.

In September 2015, a deal with NASA meant they would now launch from complex 36 at Cape Canaveral.

A second test flight of New Shepard was carried out on 23rd November 2015 reaching 100.5Km altitude with successful recovery of both capsule and booster stage.

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Posted November 25, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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