Blue Origin is planning its next suborbital testing test on Sunday from the company's vast development complex in West Texas, announced company owner Jeff Bezos on Friday. The 1965 EDT (1345 GMT; 8:45 pm CDT)
"The single-stage New Shepard missile is scheduled to launch at 9:00 AM
" Preparations for the 8th Test flight of New Shepard are ongoing as we review our progress in Continue towards manned spaceflight, "Bezos tweeted.
Reusable New Shepard Booster is expected to ship the Blue Origin crew capsule, which will carry tests on a Sunday and not passengers, to the edge of space, an internationally recognized boundary some 100 kilometers above the earth. The crew capsule is expected to separate from the rocket as soon as its main engine cuts off and then sink back to the ground under parachutes.
Meanwhile, the New Shepard booster will plunge itself back to earth before braking a brakes driven BE-3 engine and extended landing gear legs for a gentle vertical landing on a concrete landing pad.
This assumes that the flight plan mirrors the trajectory of past New Shepard test launches.
A temporary flight restriction from The Federal Aviation Administration, which covers the Blue Origin proving ground north of Van Horn, Texas, is valid from 9:30 am EDT to 4:00 pm EDT (8:30 am to 3:00 pm CDT) Sunday to ' providing a safe environment for rocket launch and recovery "
The flight restriction also covers possible launch windows every day until Wednesday.
Blue Origin will broadcast the test on the Internet
It is expected that the test flight on Sunday will reuse the same New Shepard booster, which had its first launch in December.
The missile launched on December 13 is Blue Origins third New Shepard vehicle. The first model of New Shepard was lost in a landing attempt in April 2015, and Blue Origin pulled back the second unit after making five successful suborbital hops.
In December Testflug also debuted Blue Origins improved crew capsule, the large windows to provide passengers with spectacular views of their travels to space and back.
Blue Origin did not provide a live video stream of the December 13th test flight following the live webcast of the last two New Shepard demo missions in 2016.
The company hopes to be ready to fly on New Shepard test flights by the end of the year, followed by the launch of the commercial space tourism service in 2019.
But Blue Origin is already offering rations for government and commercial research payloads and further experiments will be on board the unmanned crew capsule on Sunday.
"These payloads represent a number of users, from NASA's Johnson Space Center to a small commercial communications company. As our first European customers, funded by the German Space Agency DLR," said Blue Origin. "Each of the payloads was equipped with a custom Blue Origin Payload Locker to provide structural, power and data interfaces during the flight."
NASA's payload includes sensors to measure the environment – carbon dioxide levels, pressure, acceleration, and acoustics – in the crew capsule cabin and test components for the space organization's Orion spacecraft. A commercial New Mexico-based communications company called Solstar is testing a tech demo to test the concept of Wi-Fi access for in-space users, according to Blue Origin.
Three experiments in biology and physics by German universities and research institutes
The new suborbital Shepard vehicle is a springboard for the larger orbital-class Glenn missile from Blue Origin, from which the company says it will end up 2020's first test flight from Cape Canaveral.
Blue Origin's engineers are testing a more powerful rocket engine, the BE-4, powered by liquefied natural gas, for the New Glenn launcher. The company also hopes to sell BE-4 engines to United Launch Alliance for the next generation Vulcan rocket.
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