WASHINGTON — Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard suborbital vehicle on its latest test flight May 2, a flight that the company says brings it one step closer to flying humans later this year.
The New Shepard vehicle lifted off on the NS-11 mission at approximately 9:35 a.m. Eastern from the company’s test site in West Texas. The vehicle flew what the company called a “nominal” test profile, with the crew capsule separating from the propulsion module and reaching a peak altitude of 105.6 kilometers before landing 10 minutes later under parachutes. The propulsion module made a powered vertical landing on a nearby landing pad.
The vehicle carried 38 microgravity research payloads, the most ever on a single New Shepard flight. That included nine payloads from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, ranging from 3D printing to biomedical experiments. Six payloads came from a research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, three from Arizona State University and another from a high school in Huntsville, Alabama.
The flight was the fifth for this combination of crew capsule and propulsion module, and the 11th in the overall test program, dating back to April 2015. The flight, like all the previous ...