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Blue Origin Plans Parachute Failure Test On Next Flight

Will Intentionally Fail Crew Capsule Parachute Following Suborbital Flight

The next flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft will have a problem.

They're sure. It's planned.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos said in an email last week that the next flight of the New Shepard, the fourth for this particular booster, will carry a mockup crew capsule as usual. But this time, rather than having the crew module separate and drift safely back to Earth under parachutes, a failure of the parachute system is planned.

Geekwire reports that Bezos said in an email that on the next mission, "we’ll execute additional maneuvers on both the crew capsule and the booster to increase our vehicle characterization and modeling accuracy.

“We also plan to stress the crew capsule by landing with an intentionally failed parachute, demonstrating our ability to safely handle that failure scenario,” he wrote. “It promises to be an exciting demonstration.”

A parachute failure does not necessarily mean a crash. Blue Origin uses three parachutes to bring the crew module back to Earth. The landing should be survivable under only two, and there is a retro-thrust system that is designed to slow the capsule in such a scenario.

Blue Origin is targeting 2017 for manned test flights. The company is currently flying scientific payloads during its test missions.

(Image from file)

FMI: www.blueorigin.com

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