November 21, 2011
Test Flight Footage Added To Blue Origin Website
The space-travel venture created by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a new website over the weekend, complete with short videos of a successful "short hop" flight test conducted in May.
According to Joseph Parrish of The Verge, Bezos' Blue Origin released the footage of its New Shepard vehicle making a vertical takeoff and vertical landing approximately six months ago, "and if we're honest, it's pretty impressive“¦ Although the rocket appears to struggle gaining altitude shortly after takeoff, it's all part of an intentional and beautiful rocket-powered soft landing."MSNBC.com reporter Alan Boyle notes that the two videos show Blue Origin's PM-2 Prototypes lifting off from Bezos' West Texas spaceport, then "easing back down to earth with engines blazing and dust flying." One of the videos was shot from a location using a handheld camera, and the other was recorded near the actual launch pad and offers a "fisheye view" of the launch, Boyle said.
"Thursday's update is part of a redesigned website that lays out Blue Origin's spaceflight plans and highlights the venture's employment opportunities (including 14 'immediate openings' and a summer internship program)," the MSNBC.com Cosmic Log report from Friday added.
However, no new information regarding either the company's vehicle development process as a whole or a failed August test flight that resulted in the destruction of an unmanned craft was provided during the updates to the Blue Origin homepage unveiled Thursday.
That failure, first reported by Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal on September 3, occurred on August 24. During the failed test flight, the vehicle veered off course, causing ground control personnel to lose contact with it. Pasztor reported at the time that investigators were examining the recovered remains of the spacecraft, attempting to determine the cause of the error.
Following that Wall Street Journal report, Bezos and Blue Origin posted a statement on the company's official website in which they said that a "flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle. Not the outcome any of us wanted."
According to Boyle, Blue Origin is intending to use New Shepard to take both tourists and researchers (along with their experiments) into space. They are also working on an orbital space capsule that could ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Boyle says that Bezos' company plans to use Atlas 5 rockets initially, but ultimately will switch to a reusable, first-stage booster and upper stage rocket developed in house.
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