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SpaceX Rival, Blue Origin Likely to Blow Up New Shepard Rocket Next Month

Sep 12, 2016 05:53 AM EDT
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When Paypal's founder Elon Musk started his space flight company, he found a competition with Amazon's Jeff Bezos and the entrepreneur's startup, Blue Origin. Blue Origin is ready to keep up with the phase of SpaceX as it continues to develop rockets. Next month, Blue Origin is likely to blow up its New Shepard rocket as part of its emergency and abort systems test.

While Musk's SpaceX is investigating the unknown reason for a rocket blast in Cape Canaveral in Florida, Blue Origin, on the other hand, will likely blow up one of its used rockets intentionally to test the company's emergency rocket technology.

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket might blow up this October while conducting a test of the abort system installed in the capsule. The company plans to carry tourists with its rocket to give them a better view of the Earth from an outer space perspective in 2018. But before they can do that, the company vows to make their technologies emergency-proof.

Blue Origin is testing an escape system, an important addition in case of a rocket failure to provide a safety measure for its passengers during an emergency, according to a report.

The system is already integrated into the rocket, but some attributes have to be tested. Experts say that the thrust to send the abort system away from the rocket, when combined with the rocket engine's maximum performance, might cause an explosion. This is the reason why a blast may not be avoided during the testing.

To perform the experiment, a lift-off will be initiated. At 16,000 feet, 45 seconds after the lift-off, the capsule will be propelled away from the rocket using a motor. The capsule will use parachutes to enable a soft landing. New Shepard is one of Blue Origin's rockets, which was flown and landed for a total of four times.

"The booster was never designed to survive an in-flight escape. The capsule escape motor will slam the booster with 70,000 pounds of off-axis force delivered by searing hot exhaust," Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, said in an email to Popular Science. "The aerodynamic shape of the vehicle quickly changes from leading with the capsule to leading with the ring fin, and this all happens at maximum dynamic pressure."

The rocket booster may or may not survive the testing. Bezos and Blue Origin are prepared in whatever the outcome of the test will be. A rocket explosion will also serve as a more realistic setting for the abort system.

 

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