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Blue Origin Completes Another Launch of 2018, Successfully Tests Safety System

Blue Origin testing its New Shepard rocket at its Van Horn facility in 2018. (Blue Origin)

On Wednesday, space tourism company Blue Origin tested its New Shepard rocket once again at its West Texas facility.

After an hour delay, the New Shepard rocket was cleared for it’s 2nd launch of the year.

On this flight, the company — which is owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — performed a test of the rocket’s safety system. It's designed to help would-be astronauts escape any time during flight.

It's one of the critical steps in the company's testing phase and today everything went according to plan.

Three minutes into the launch, the crew capsule fired its escape motor, which quickly lifted the spacecraft away from the rocket's boosters.

“Anything could have happened today, and this is the best possible outcome," said launch commentator Ariane Cornell .

The successful launch brings the company one step closer to sending tourists into space.

The rocket flew higher than it had before, reaching a peak altitude of about 74 miles.

So far the test flights have not been crewed. But the last two have featured a test dummy Bezos has nicknamed “mannequin skywalker.”

The company could send out a test flight with a human crew by the end of this year.


Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.