Blue Origin carries out customer rehearsal NS-15 mission

Blue Origin, the US-based aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company, successfully completed its 15th consecutive New Shephard mission (NS-15) to suborbital space and back to Earth on April 14,2021.

The New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket and crew capsule system mission marked a verification step prior to flying paying customers to suborbital space.

NS-15 lifted off from Launch Site One in West Texas.

The crew capsule reached an apogee of 347,574ft above ground level, while the booster reached an apogee of 347,193ft.

The mission elapsed time was 10 min 10 sec; the max ascent velocity was3,596 km/h.

The mission included simulations to rehearse astronaut movements and operations for future flights.

Role playing

For the first time, Blue Origin personnel standing in as commercial astronauts, entered the capsule prior to launch.

Playing the role of commercial astronauts, the Blue Origin personnel climbed the launch tower, got into their seats in the crew capsule, 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 Blue Origin personnel then exited the crew capsule prior to launch.

Post-landing, the Blue Origin personnel got back inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening, and exiting the capsule at the landing site.

Onboard the April 12 NS-15 mission was Mannequin Skywalker and more than 25,000 postcards from Club for the Future, the nonprofit founded by Blue Origin.

New Shepard is designed to take commercial astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognised boundary of space.

The New Shephard system comprises of a pressurised capsule atop a booster.

New Shepard is named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space.

Blue Origin is headquartered in Kent, Washington.

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