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Bezos’ Blue Origin gets closer to human space flight with “astronaut rehearsal”

Blue Origin's Audrey Powers sitting inside the crew capsule during 15th New Shepard mission's “astronaut rehearsal.”   | Photo Credit: Blue Origin

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Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company, Blue Origin, successfully conducted an “astronaut rehearsal” during the company’s 15th New Shepard (NS-15) mission on April 14 from Launch Site One in West Texas.

The Washington-based firm mission tested its New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle and operations in preparation for human space flight, it said in a release. During the astronaut operational exercises, company employees simulated pre- and post-flight tasks that would be performed by astronauts in future missions.

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“Blue Origin successfully completed its 15th consecutive mission to space and back today,” the space firm said. “This mission marked a verification step prior to flying astronauts.”

These employees climbed the launch tower, got into their seats, buckled their harnesses, and conducted a communications check with the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), the aerospace company noted.

Next, the capsule’s cabin was prepared for launch, including a brief closure of its hatch, after that the stand-in astronauts exited the capsule, and it was launched with Mannequin Skywalker. Post-landing, they went back inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening and exiting the capsule at the landing site, it further added.

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NS-15 mission’s crew capsule and booster reached an altitude of about 106 km above ground level and landed back on Earth after 10 minutes.

Blue Origin’s latest mission brings the company closer to flying astronauts to space as it has lagged behind Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX, on orbital transportation.

The company has been testing key technologies and equipment using its reusable launch vehicles.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 7:25:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/bezos-blue-origin-gets-closer-to-human-space-flight-with-astronaut-rehearsal/article34326770.ece

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