Blue Origin next test mission on January 2016 ?

 

It is possible that Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft will start again before end of January 2016.

Information are not officially confirmed, but according to Space.com, Federal Aviation Administration announced restriction covering area of Blue Origin test facility near Van Horn, Texas. Restriction covers 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time on 22-23 January 2016 and according to FAA announcement during this time will perform "space flight operations".

Last flight of New Shepard and at the same time demonstration of landing of the first stage of vehicle, was performed on 23 November 2015. After this test flight capsule of New Shepard landed safely on parachutes and rocket landed near Blue Origin facility in Texas. At that time there was also no official confirmation of landing attempt, in spite of previous statement that before end of 2015 New Shepard will be launched for next test flight. Now situation is similar. On 24 November 2015, when Jeff Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, was answering for questions on press conference he stated, that after technical inspection, New Shepard will be launched again. There was no date announced, but it was mentioned that next flight will take place in number of weeks. This information and FAA announcement are giving reasons to assume that New Shepard will take off and land very soon.

New Shepard is vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL) reusable manned launch vehicle designed mainly for space touristic. It is fully is controlled by onboard computers without any ground control. It is based on two compartments-pressurized capsule and propulsion module. Crew compartment is designed for six persons and is equipped with launch escape system providing ability of separation from rocket in every moment of ascent. It large and comfortable, offering capacity of 15 cubic meters and with large windows (72 cm to 100 cm). Propulsion module is designed as fully reusable, powered with BE-3 engine-fueled with liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen rocket engine designed by Blue Origin. It is generating thrust at 490 kN. Whole vehicle is simpler in design than for example Dragon spacecraft (designed by SpaceX), but its main purpose is space touristic flights, not deep space missions. After successful mission on 23 November 2015, until 21 December 2015, it was first and ultimate reusable space vehicle in the world.