New Shepard, the rocket system built by Blue Origin, completed its seventh test launch after it took off from a test facility in Texas which is designed to carry space tourists on short “sub-orbital” trips.
This launch is referred to as NS-13. There were 12 payloads onboard including the Deorbit, Descent and the Landing Sensor Demonstration under the Nasa Tipping Point partnership.
Note: There were no passengers on board this test launch.
About New Shepard…
New Shepard has been named after astronaut Mercury Alan Shepard, the first American to space.
It is meant to provide easier and more cost-effective access to space meant for purposes such as academic research, corporate technology development, and entrepreneurial ventures among others.
What is New Shepard’s objective?
New Shepard is a rocket system that has been designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line.
It offers flight to space over 100km above the Earth and accommodation for payloads.
The Karman line is the altitude where space begins.
It is 100km (about 60 miles) high
It commonly represents the border between the earth’s atmosphere and the outer atmosphere.
How does New Shepard work?
The rocket system consists of two parts, the cabin/capsule and the rocket/the booster.
The cabin can accommodate experiments from small mini payloads up to 100kg.
The cabin/capsule is designed for six people and sits atop a 60-feet tall rocket and separates from it before crossing the Karman line.
After separating from the boosters, the capsule free falls in space, while the boosters perform an autonomously controlled vertical landing back to Earth.
The capsule, on the other hand, lands back with the help of parachutes.
Effectively, both vehicles comes back to Earth.
The payload it was carrying for NASA is called Splice, which stands for Safe and Precise Landing- Integrated Capabilities Evolution.
It consists of two sensor systems, a computer and advanced algorithms.
The purpose of sending it up on New Shepard was to test how the different elements of the payload work together.