Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard booster flew again on June 19, 2016, reaching an apogee of 331,504ft (101.042km). It was the fourth flight with this booster and the sixth flight for this capsule. Blue Origin wanted to test the capsule’s parachute landing system to prove it could land safely. Only two of the capsule’s three parachutes were deployed in the successful landing.
The capsule is designed to have levels of redundancy in every system needed for crew safety, including the separation systems, parachutes, reaction control thrusters, landing retro-thrusters, flight computers, and power systems.
Blue Origin also changed the ascending trajectory of the booster to give a more aggressive tilt toward the landing pad to the north after lift-off. This maneuver tested the ascent trajectory that will be used during the Transonic Escape Test later this year.
During this flight test the capsule’s solid-rocket escape motor will intentionally be fired at transonic speeds to divert and propel the capsule away from a fully thrusting booster to demonstrate that it can be safely recovered.
June 24, 2016