Blue Origin‘s suborbital rocket ship – New Shepard – flew again for the 8th time this weekend (April 29, 2018), launching from Blue Origin’s West Texas facility. Known as Mission 8 (M8), the mission featured a reflight of the vehicle flown on Mission 7. For the second time, Blue Origin’s test dummy Mannequin Skywalker flew to space. In an email sent last night, Blue Origin said the test dummy was:
… conducting astronaut telemetry and science studies.
The Crew Capsule reached an apogee – greatest distance from Earth – of 351,000 feet (66 miles, 107 km) – the altitude we’ve been targeting for operations.
We look forward to sharing upcoming test flights as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight.
Blue Origin was started in 2000 by Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos on Twitter). Space tourism is one of Blue Origin’s business goals. Like Elon Musk and SpaceX, Bezos wants to change commercial spaceflight by developing reusable rockets to bring costs down. The company’s motto is Gradatim Ferociter! That’s Latin for:
Step by Step, Ferociously.
The April 29 test flight also carried research payloads for NASA, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and commercial customers. Learn more about the payloads at Blue Origins’ blog.
A replay of the livestream from Sunday’s test flight is below:
Bottom line: Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket New Shepard made its 8th test flight on April 29, 2018, launching from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.