On Wednesday morning, July 18, Blue Origin launched the ninth mission of ‘New Shepherd’ – which was built right here in Kent – from its Texas facility, successfully performing its most critical test to date.

The locally-made rocket conducted a live separation test of its crew capsule from its booster, sending it – and its test flight dummy ‘Mannequin Skywalker’ – higher than it has ever gone before.

This milestone puts the Kent-based company closer to realizing their vision of launching people into space, with the goal of tests with a human crew being conducted as early as the end of this year.

“The Crew Capsule was pushed hard by the escape test and we stressed the rocket to test that astronauts can get away from an anomaly at any time during flight,” the company said in a statement. “The mission was a success for both the booster and capsule. Most importantly, astronauts would have had an exhilarating ride and safe landing.”

Blue Origin added:

This isn’t the first time we’ve done this type of extreme testing on New Shepard. In October of 2012, we simulated a booster failure on the launch pad and had a successful escape. Then in October of 2016, we simulated a booster failure in-flight at Max Q, which is the most physically strenuous point in the flight for the rocket, and had a completely successful escape of the capsule.

This test on M9 allowed us to finally characterize escape motor performance in the near-vacuum of space and guarantee that we can safely return our astronauts in any phase of flight.

Also on M9, New Shepard carried science and research payloads from commercial companies, universities and space agencies. Learn more about the payloads on board.

“Until our next test launch, Gradatim Ferociter!”

The name ‘New Shepard’ is an homage to the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard, one of the original NASA Mercury Seven astronauts.

Here’s video of the launch:


More info here: https://www.blueorigin.com


Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...