24 Jan, 2016
Blue Origin Sent Its Rocket To Space Again
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Sent Its Rocket To Space Again
Blue Origin is just about ready to give SpaceX a run for its money after the Jeff Bezos-founded aerospace company successfully brought back one of its reusable rockets to Earth during a test launch on Friday.
The recent test featured a New Shepard spacecraft, the same model Blue Origin used in another simulation in November that was able to land vertically on its target site.
According to the company, this week’s launch saw the New Shepard reach a maximum altitude of 333,582 feet (101.7 kilometers) just before it was safely guided back to Earth by controllers for recovery and reuse.
Data gathered from the November launch matched the preflight predictions set by the Blue Origin team. This helped make preparations for the re-flight more straightforward.
Several modifications to the New Shepard’s configuration were made, such as replacing the crew capsule parachutes and the pyro igniters and conducting avionics and functional checkouts.
The team also improved the software used for the New Shepard. Instead of having to land in the middle of its pad, the spacecraft first identifies the center just before setting down at a spot that is most convenient. In this sense, the New Shepard prioritizes its altitude over its exact lateral positioning during its landing.
Blue Origin compared the maneuver to lining up an aircraft according to the centerline of the runway.
“If the plane is a few feet off center as you get close, you don’t swerve at the last minute to ensure hitting the exact mid-point,” Blue Origin founder Bezos wrote on the company’s website. “You just land a few feet left or right of the centerline.”
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