Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight included an instrumented test dummy dubbed Mannequin Skywalker — a nod to the Star Wars moving coming out this week and a prelude to tests with human occupants that could begin next year.
“Today’s flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success. It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program,” said Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. “Congratulations to the entire Blue Origin team on a job well done and to our payload customers that gathered important data on the suborbital environment. Gradatim Ferociter.”
New Shepard capsules will eventually carry passengers on suborbital trips. Yesterday’s flight carried the crash test dummy and microgravity experiments. There were a dozen research, commercial and educational payloads on board.
New Shepard 2.0 included upgraded booster and capsule. The capsule featured large windows measuring measuring 2.4 feet wide and 3.6 feet tall that will allow future tourists to gaze out at space and the Earth below.
The crew capsule reached an altitude of 99.39 km (326,075 feet) with the booster topping out at 99.27 km (235,702 feet). The vehicle’s drogue parachute deployed 6,463 feet. Total mission time was 10 minutes 6 seconds.
The maximum ascent velocity was Mach 2.94 with the booster reaching a maximum descent velocity of Mach 3.74. The booster re-ignited its engine at an altitude of 3,716 feet and landed at 6.75 mph.