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Blue Origin successfully tests escape system

News International-French

6 Oct 2016

New Shepard performed an in-flight test of the capsule’s full-envelope escape system, designed to quickly propel the crew capsule to safety if a problem is detected with the booster

Their spaceflight experience offers aspiring astronauts a glimpse of the future and the opportunity to help humanity get there.

Driven by their company motto, Gradatim Ferociter or “step by step, ferociously,” their incremental development process builds upon each success as we develop ground-breaking spaceflight systems. But they don’t just build rockets—they build a culture around methodical innovation and exploration.


Fully reusable
The New Shepard system is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle.
The system consists of a pressurized capsule atop a booster. The combined vehicles launch vertically, accelerating for approximately two and a half minutes, before the engine cuts off. The capsule then separates from the booster to coast quietly into space. After a few minutes of free fall, the booster performs an autonomously controlled rocket-powered vertical landing, while the capsule lands softly under parachutes, both ready to be used again. Reusability allows us to fly the system again and again. With each flight, we’ll continuously improve the affordability of space exploration and research, opening space for all.

Precision built and tested
The New Shepard capsule and booster are being designed and tested to exceptionally high standards, in a process that is both rigorous and disciplined. Its manufacturing and assembly technicians have years of experience in aircraft and spacecraft manufacturing. The elements of the New Shepard system are being tested extensively, both on the ground and during uncrewed test flights. From vibration tables and thermal chambers to hundreds of engine firings, these tests stress the vehicles and all of their subsystems. Their flight test program continues to build experience with the New Shepard system in an uncrewed configuration, leading up to the day when we are ready for astronauts to climb on board for launch.

Space for six aboard the capsule

The New Shepard capsule’s interior is an ample 530 cubic feet—offering over 10 times the room Alan Shepard had on his Mercury flight. It seats six astronauts and is large enough for you to float freely and turn weightless somersaults.


On October 5, 2016, at T+0:45 and 16,053 feet (4,893 meters), the capsule separated and the escape motor fired, pushing the capsule safely away from the booster. Reaching an apogee of 23,269 feet (7,092 meters), the capsule then descended under parachutes to a gentle landing on the desert floor. After the capsule escape, the booster continued its ascent, reaching an apogee of 307,458 feet (93,713 meters). At T+7:29, the booster executed a controlled, vertical landing back at the West Texas Launch Site, completing its fifth and final mission.

New Shepard In-flight Escape Test