Blue Origin Launches Simulated Human Flight

Space Coast, FL – Blue Origin launched their New Shepard rocket for the fifteenth straight time. The successful mission, NS-15, was a simulated test for the flight of humans. There were no humans that flew on this simulated test.

Blue Origin New Shepard rocket capsule
New Shepard rocket capsule ahead of launch | Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin Human Simulation

They conducted a series of simulations to rehearse astronaut movements and operations for future flights with customers on board. This mission marked a verification step prior to flying astronauts.

Blue Origin's Audrey Powers simulates astronaut ingress
Blue Origin's Audrey Powers simulates astronaut ingress on New Shepard Mission NS-15 | Photo: Blue Origin

The primary operations entailed personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch. The astronauts had climbed the launch tower, got into their seats, buckled their harnesses, and conducted a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator. The tower operations team prepared the capsule cabin for launch and then briefly closed the capsule hatch. The astronauts then exited the capsule prior to launch.

Also onboard was Mannequin Skywalker and more than 25,000 postcards from Club for the Future, the nonprofit founded by Blue Origin.

Ignition of New Shepard for the NS-15 mission
Ignition of New Shepard for the NS-15 mission | Image/Screenshot: Blue Origin Live Stream

Key Mission Stats:

  • 16th consecutive successful crew capsule landing (every flight in the program, including a pad escape test in 2012).
  • The crew capsule reached an apogee of 347,574 ft. above ground level (AGL) / 351,221 ft. mean sea level (MSL) (105 km AGL/107 km MSL). 
  • The booster reached an apogee of 347,193 ft AGL / 350,840 ft MSL (105 km AGL / 106 km MSL). 
  • The mission elapsed time was 10 min 10 sec; the max ascent velocity was 2,234 mph / 3,596 km/h. 
BE-3PM engine relights for landing
BE-3PM engine relights for landing | Image/Screenshot: Blue Origin Live Stream

The New Shepard is a reusable rocket and made the landing look text book. The successful mission and human flight simulation has taken the company just about a flight away for human spaceflight. Congratulations to the entire team that has made this happen. We look forward to the progression of New Shepard, and the New Glenn rocket being built in Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA

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