Blue Origin has announced that it completed its 15th consecutive mission into space and back and conducted simulations to rehearse astronaut movements in preparation for its future flights that will involve customers onboard its spacecraft. The mission was a verification step before being cleared to fly astronauts aboard the new Shepherd spacecraft. NS-15 was the first mission, with Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering the capsule prior to launch.
We mentioned not long ago that Blue Origin would be using its personnel to simulate astronaut movements and perform tasks including comms check using the Capsule Communicator and procedures for entering and exiting the capsule. The personnel also conducted pre-launch preparations inside the capsule. Before NS-15 launched and headed into space, the astronauts left the capsule.
After NS-15 landed, Blue Origin personnel entered the capsule again and rehearsed post-landing procedures, including hatch opening and exiting the capsule. During the flight Mannequin Skywalker and more than 25,000 postcards from Club for the Future, a nonprofit organization founded by Blue Origin, were aboard the capsule.
Blue Origin notes this is the 16th consecutive successful crew capsule landing spanning back to 2012, including a pad escape test. NS-15 saw the crew capsule reach an apogee of 347,574 feet above the ground, and 351,221 feet mean sea level. The booster reached an apogee of 347,193 feet AGL. The entire mission lasted 10 minutes and 10 seconds with a maximum velocity of 2234 mph.
The company stresses that all mission crew supporting the launch exercised social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risk for personnel and the surrounding community. The entire playback for the mission can be viewed on YouTube above.