Blue Origin, the space venture backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is pushing ahead with development and testing of its New Shepard rocket, aiming to qualify the system for human spaceflight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program.
The next big milestone will be a test this summer of Blue Origin’s unique method for aborting a launch, according to a Flight International story today, quoting Brett Alexander, Blue Origin’s director of business development.
As outlined by Blue Origin in the past, the system uses thrusters beneath a crew capsule to push it away from the launcher if something goes wrong — different from the “tower” systems that pull capsules away from launch rockets in the event of a malfunction.
Blue Origin is based in Kent, south of Seattle. Its first New Shepard vehicle was destroyed during a test flight over Texas last year, and the company says it is currently manufacturing a new one.