Blue Origin has completed the pad abort test of its crew capsule, one of the last remaining milestones under the commercial crew development (CCDev) programme.
The 19 October test of the pusher escape motors took place at Blue Origin's Van Horn, Texas test facility. The successful test is meant to demonstrate that a crewed capsule can be ejected from a stationary launch vehicle if necessary.
The capsule reached a peak altitude of 2,307ft (700m) before the escape engines cut off and three parachutes deployed. The vehicle impacted the ground safely. Although the test used Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle, the results are applicable to the space vehicle as well.
"The progress Blue Origin has made on its suborbital and orbital capabilities really is encouraging for the overall future of human spaceflight," says Ed Mango, NASA commercial crew programme manager. "It was awesome to see a spacecraft NASA played a role in developing take flight."
The test was initially scheduled for April, but was delayed for unspecified reasons. Blue Origin also announced another milestone, a test of the main engine's thrust chamber, on 15 October.
While a grantee under the first two rounds of CCDev, the company did not bid on the third round. Blue Origin declined to comment, as is its standard practice.
Source: Flight International