Science & Technology

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin venture gives notice for spaceship flight test this week

Blue Origin, the area venture based by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has alerted the Federal Aviation Administration that it’s planning to place a brand-new New Shepard rocket ship by an uncrewed flight test at its West Texas spaceport this week.

The FAA handed alongside phrase of the approaching test in what’s referred to as a “Notice to Airmen,” or NOTAM.

The notice alerts aviators to steer clear of the testing floor, on Bezos’ ranchland north of Van Horn, Texas, between 6:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT day by day beginning Monday and ending Thursday.

It’s an advance indication that Blue Origin’s first flight test in additional than 14 months might be imminent, however there’s no assure that the launch will truly happen. Blue Origin representatives instructed GeekWire in an e-mail at the moment that that they had no additional particulars so as to add to the FAA notice.

The latest flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard car took place in October 2016, marking the craft’s fifth profitable flight to area and again. Afterward, the propulsion module and the crew capsule had been retired. Blue Origin’s group, headquartered in Kent, Wash., moved on to constructing a next-generation New Shepard for a brand new collection of assessments.

The following-gen capsule is nearer to the {hardware} that’s anticipated to take passengers to the sting of area as quickly as subsequent yr. For instance, it has precise home windows, versus the patches of paint that had been placed on the now-retired capsule.

All of Blue Origin’s test launches to this point have been uncrewed, however the more moderen assessments have carried suborbital science payloads. Final week, Blue Origin and Xerox’s PARC lab announced a partnership to speed up analysis and improvement in area.

The more moderen assessments even have been webcast, however for now there’s no phrase whether or not that would be the case for the subsequent launch.

Bezos has stated he puts about $1 billion worth of Amazon stock sales towards Blue Origin yearly. This yr, the corporate’s workforce rose above 1,000 staff.

Along with the suborbital New Shepard program, Blue Origin is engaged on a next-generation BE-4 rocket engine and orbital-class New Glenn launch car. It’s additionally laying the groundwork for beyond-Earth-orbit missions to the moon and different locations.

Blue Origin is because of begin shifting into its 750,000-square-foot orbital operations facility in Florida by the tip of this yr and put together for the primary New Glenn test flights by 2020.

Though Bezos has stated New Shepard might begin taking up suborbital area passengers in Texas by the tip of subsequent yr, the corporate hasn’t but introduced a ticket value, nor has it begun taking reservations.

Hat tip to Space News’ Jeff Foust.

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