The launch took on the 9th commercial payload mission of blue origin, carrying the payload of the 100th customer. It mainly includes three groups of payloads:
OK go space art – earlier this year, blue origin and rock band OK go jointly held a space art competition, from which some award-winning works were taken into space, including thousands of hand-painted postcards produced by teenagers from all over the world.
Oscar – this is a recycling technology experiment project at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The purpose of the experiment is to create a mixture of gases from common wastes to maintain life breathing, which is particularly important for future human deep space exploration missions.
Columbia education load — a scientific research load designed and built by Columbia University undergraduates to study the influence of microgravity environment on cell biology.
Finally, a new reusable Shepard rocket 3 was launched at 11:53 noon on the 11th of the United States Central time (1:53, December 12, Beijing time).
this short and thick single-stage rocket is 18 meters high. With only one liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen engine (be-3), the thrust released can reach 490 kn (50 tons).
two minutes and 45 seconds after launch, the top capsule is released at speeds of 2227 miles per hour (3600 km / h). The capsule is designed to have six cabins. Although there is no real person in the launch, it still carries a dummy model (officially known as Skywalker) for testing, which can last for five minutes in weightlessness – the most valuable period, the core selling point of blue origin’s commercial space tour.
as a single-stage rocket, the new Shepard rocket No.3 reached a maximum of 105 km (more than 100 km of Carmen line km) during the flight, becoming the highest point of launch of the new Shepard rocket so far.
seven minutes and 25 seconds after launch, the rocket landed successfully at Van Horn landing site. 10 minutes and 16 seconds after launch, the capsule landed with the help of three parachutes. The mission was successfully completed, and the whole process took a little more than 10 minutes.
this launch is still a suborbital test flight. Generally, a space flight of more than 300 km is considered as an orbital flight, and the one below this altitude belongs to suborbital flight. The spacecraft / spacecraft can not reach the first cosmic speed (7.8 km / s) and cannot fly around the earth in low earth orbit.
the reason why the mission is still a test flight is because the development of a new Shepard Rocket + manned space capsule, the core purpose of this rocket ship system, is to create a blue origin space journey, which makes space passengers feel weightless for 5 minutes.
this capsule is designed to carry six people. Since the first test flight on December 12, 2017, it has been in the test stage, and has been tested for six times in total.
the six test flights are all the same partner: the same rocket (New Shepard rocket 3) + the same space capsule (cc2.0), which is probably the ultimate goal of blue origin – the multiple reuse capability of arrow ship system, including recovery and renovation capabilities, as well as the renovation technology with minimum launch interval.
since 2015, there have been 12 successful launches, with a success rate of 100%, and a rocket recovery success rate of 91.66% (one recovery failure).
new Shepard rocket 1 (NS 1): launched on April 29, 2015, the launch process was smooth, and it crashed during vertical landing (the only failure so far); the space capsule (cc1.0) successfully landed.
new Sheppard rocket 2 (NS 2): from 2015 to 2016, it successfully launched and recycled 5 times, realizing five flights in one arrow.
new Sheppard rocket 3 (NS 3): from 2017 to now (December 2019), it has successfully launched and recycled six times, realizing six flights in one arrow.
we should know that SpaceX, the first brother of space express, only launched the first 1.0 version of star chain on November 11 this year, which achieved the first four flights with one arrow (b1048.4). Although the Falcon 9 B5 first stage rocket can be used up to 10 times according to the design target, it will take time to witness that day.
However, people with a clear eye can see that the blue origin has not won much applause outside the circle, and even the attention is poor, whether it has achieved five flights in one arrow in 2016 or the latest one. Not to mention SpaceX.