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NewsApr 12, 2021

Blue Origin Conducts Astronaut Rehearsal for Future Customer Flights

NS-15 - APRIL 14

Blue Origin successfully completed its 15th consecutive mission to space and back today and conducted a series of simulations to rehearse astronaut movements and operations for future flights with customers on board. This mission marked a verification step prior to flying astronauts. 

Blue Origin's Audrey Powers simulates astronaut ingress on New Shepard Mission NS-15. (April 14, 2021)

For the first time, Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entered the capsule prior to launch. These astronauts conducted a series of tests from within the capsule, including a comms check with the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), procedures for entering and exiting the capsule, and pre-launch preparations within the capsule. Following the crew capsule landing, the astronauts rehearsed post-flight procedures, hatch opening, and exiting the capsule.   

Also onboard today was Mannequin Skywalker and more than 25,000 postcards from Club for the Future, the nonprofit founded by Blue Origin. 

Key Mission Stats:

  • 16th consecutive successful crew capsule landing (every flight in the program, including a pad escape test in 2012).
  • The crew capsule reached an apogee of 347,574 ft. above ground level (AGL) / 351,221 ft. mean sea level (MSL) (105 km AGL/107 km MSL). 
  • The booster reached an apogee of 347,193 ft AGL / 350,840 ft MSL (105 km AGL / 106 km MSL). 
  • The mission elapsed time was 10 min 10 sec; the max ascent velocity was 2,234 mph / 3,596 km/h. 

Watch the full mission replay below.

As with previous missions, all mission crew supporting this launch exercised strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel and surrounding communities.

If you’d like to purchase a commemorative patch from today’s mission, head to the Blue Origin Shop.

—Gradatim Ferociter

9:41 CDT / 14:41 UTC — APRIL 14

The hold is cleared. New Shepard NS-15 is now targeting launch at 10:56 AM CDT / 15:56 UTC.

9:10 AM CDT / 14:10 UTC — APRIL 13

New Shepard NS-15 is go for launch tomorrow at 10:15 AM CDT / 15:15 UTC. Live webcast starts at T-60 minutes on BlueOrigin.com

NS-15 Mission to Conduct Astronaut Rehearsal for Future Customer Flights

Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-15 flight is targeting liftoff on Wednesday, April 14, from Launch Site One in West Texas. The launch window opens at 10:15 AM CDT / 15:15 UTC. Building on the incremental and consecutive mission successes for the vehicle over the course of the program’s flight history, NS-15 is a verification step for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts.

During the mission, astronaut operational exercises will be conducted in preparation for human space flight. The primary operations will entail Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch. These astronauts will climb the launch tower, get into their seats, buckle their harnesses, and conduct a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator. The tower operations team will prepare the capsule cabin for launch and then briefly close the capsule hatch. The astronauts will then exit the capsule prior to launch. 

Post-landing, the astronauts will get inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening, and exiting the capsule at the landing site. 

Inside the capsule during the flight will be Mannequin Skywalker, along with more than 25,000 postcards on behalf of Club for the Future, the nonprofit founded by Blue Origin. To participate in the postcards program, visit the Club for the Future website here.

As with previous missions, all mission crew supporting this launch are exercising strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel and surrounding communities.

Launch coverage begins at T-1 hour on BlueOrigin.com and will include live footage of the astronaut rehearsal activities. Follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter for launch updates. 

—Gradatim Ferociter

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