Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital space tourism vehicle is scheduled to lift off at 13:00 UTC on Saturday, 2022-06-04. (New Shepard countdowns tend to have holds at seemingly random times for undisclosed reasons, so take that time as a “no earlier than”.)
This will be Blue Origin’s secpnd flight of 2022 and the fifth New Shepard flight with passengers. Everyday Astronaut has a pre-flight preview with additional information.
The flight will carry the full complement of six paying passengers. There is no “celebrity guest” this time, although one of the passengers, Evan Dick, will be flying for the second time on New Shepard which, I suppose, confers some degree of notoriety.
At the risk of presuming his gender identification without the benefit of being a biologist, I applaud Mr. Dick’s temerity. Incidentally, neither yelp nor tripadvisor have any New Shepard reviews, so the experience might be a bit sketchy? Is there a volume discount or a Blue Origin frequent flier card - get x flights punched in and the x+1 is free?
NS4 for NS-21
NS-21 will be the seventh flight of the NS4 rocket. NS4 has some improved accessibility panels for easier cleaning and checkouts of the hardware. NS4 has already performed five flights, in which it landed successfully along with the capsule. These tests have given Blue Origin and the FAA confidence to fly humans on this booster.
So NS4 is getting a bit long in the tooth, with 7 flights under its metaphorical belt. The previous NS3 rocket did a total of 8 flights. I wonder how much does it cost per seat and more specifically if Mr. Dick gets to use his frequent flier miles on this second flight.
Yes, the launch and flight went normally. Apparently the video, which was live during the flight, got taken down some time after due to a copyright claim. No replacement replay video has been posted since.
My only guess is that they replayed something from Mexican TV during the Webcast about the Mexican woman on board and the TV station filed a copyright strike against the video.
Attention to detail—that’s the key to success in the unforgiving business of space.
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Interesting to watch the capsule crash land at 17mph. The impact dust cloud looks 3-4 times bigger than the height of the capsule. Wonder how jarring it is for the occupants.
Also not clear if there is any type of attitude control on the capsule, looks like recovery is pretty much crash land and wait for the recovery crew to locate it and pick them up. Although there seems to be drone footage of the capsule on the ground.
It’s a good 7 minutes or more until the recovery trucks make it to the crash land site. And you got to think they are plotting a course on it as it lands, so it must be really far out. Interestingly, they send two trucks with a crew of 8, so it must be they will ferry the passengers back to base and then come back to pick up the capsule and the recovery crew?
The capsule descends under the parachutes at around 7 metres per second but, just before it touches down, sensors on the bottom detect the approaching ground and fire a retro-rocket which slows it in the final moments before contact to about 0.45 metre/second at impact. So, there’s a pulse of smooth deceleration a second before touchdown, followed by a bump like jumping off the second rung of a ladder when it hits the ground.
The big dust cloud you see on touchdown is stirred up by the plume of the braking rocket that fires just before contact. Soyuz has used a similar system since its inception in 1967, with a radioactive sensor in the descent capsule that triggers the landing retro rocket. Since Blue Origin would never use something as gauche as a radioactive sensor, I presume theirs is triggered by a unicorn eyelash or equivalent Seattle-compatible technology.
Awesome thank you for the explanation - makes a lot more sense than a (relatively) low speed impact.
Apparently, there is more to it, with a ring of “crushable bumpers” acting as an impact limiter (source, linked from the book of knowledge)
Back in 2016, Bezos was quoted on a redundant impact reduction system under each seat.
If astronauts were on board, they would have felt nothing more than a jolt. “In addition to the retrorocket system and the crushable ring, there is an energy-absorbing mechanism mounted underneath each seat,” Bezos explained.