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Blue Origin New Shepard In Flight Escape Test Launch
October 5, 2016 @ 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM EDTFree
“Like Mercury, Apollo, and Soyuz, New Shepard has an escape system that can quickly propel the crew capsule to safety if a problem is detected with the booster. Our escape system, however, is configured differently from those earlier designs. They mounted the escape motor on a tower above the capsule – a “tractor” configuration – the escape motor would pull the capsule away from a failing booster. But because a capsule cannot reenter Earth’s atmosphere or deploy parachutes with a tower on top, the tower, along with the escape motor, must be jettisoned on every flight – even the nominal flights. Expending an escape motor on every flight drives up costs significantly. Further, the jettison operation is itself safety critical. Failure to jettison the tower is catastrophic.
The New Shepard escape motor pushes rather than pulls and is mounted underneath the capsule rather than on a tower. There is no jettison operation. On a nominal mission, the escape motor is not expended and can be flown again and again. We’ve already tested our pusher escape system, including many ground tests and a successful pad escape test, but this upcoming flight will be our toughest test yet. We’ll intentionally trigger an escape in flight and at the most stressing condition: maximum dynamic pressure through transonic velocities.”