Blue Origin’s Latest New Shepard Flight is a Success, With Passengers Climbing on Board (and Getting off Again Before it Flew)21 Apr 2021, 19:53 UTC
In 2000, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin, a commercial space company intended to become one of the crown jewels of his financial empire. Unfortunately, Blue Origin has lost ground in recent years to companies like SpaceX, which have been pushing the envelope with the development of reusable launch systems, resupply services, and human-rated spacecraft.
To address this, Bezos recently stepped down as CEO of Amazon to devote more attention to Blue Origin and other projects. On Wednesday, April 14th, the company hit a milestone when their New Shepard spacecraft (named in honor of famed astronaut Alan Shepard) conducted its fifteenth consecutive mission (NS-15) to space and back. This “crew rehearsal” mission brings Blue Origin one step closer to launching crews and tourists into space.
The mission took place at Launch Site One, a facility located near Van Horn, Texas. Prior to the launch, two Blue Origin personnel conducted rehearsal operations designed to simulate astronaut movements and operations aboard the New Shepard capsule. This consisted of the two personnel climbing the launch tower, strapping into their seats, and conducting communications checks with the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM).
At the same time, two additional personnel served as the tower ...