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Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft launches biggest mission yet, sticks landing

By Mike Wall
May 02, 2019, 2:48:21 PM EDT

Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft just took another step toward flying passengers to the final frontier.

The reusable rocket-capsule combo aced its 11th test mission today (May 2), an uncrewed jaunt that toted 38 science experiments, a new record for the spacecraft, to suborbital space and back.

blue origin

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket and spacecraft lift off from the company's West Texas launch site on May 2, 2019. (Image: © Blue Origin)

"A beautiful, beautiful launch of the booster and capsule today. Incredible," said Blue Origin's Ariane Cornell, director of astronaut and orbital sales, during live commentary. "This has been quite the morning."

New Shepard rose off a pad at Blue Origin's West Texas test site at 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT; 8:35 a.m. local time).About 10 minutes later, it was all over: the rocket made a vertical touchdown on its designated landing pad, and the capsule settled softly onto the West Texas plains under parachutes, raising a plume of dust as it hit the ground.

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