Watch Blue Origin's high-altitude abort test during latest rocket launch

Blue Origin New Shepard launch

Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship blasts off for a high-altitude escape system test

Although it has not yet provided details, the company says it will fly "a high altitude escape motor test-pushing the rocket to its limits".

Blue Origin's New Shepard spaceship blasts off for a high-altitude escape system test.

The reusable New Shepard rocket settles to a picture-perfect touchdown.

Blue Origin successfully tested the rocket in April, launching a mannequin into space and returning it safely to the ground.

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to webcast Wednesday's test flight, which is set for takeoff at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT; 9 a.m. CDT) from the company's sprawling test site north of Van Horn, Texas, around 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of El Paso.

Eventually, up to six passengers at a time could get on board the New Shepard spaceship, which flies under autonomous control.

It's also not yet known how much Blue Origin plans to charge for rides in a New Shepard capsule. Unlike NASA's Mercury and Apollo spacecraft, which jettisoned their escape rockets before reaching orbit, Blue Origin's is built into the capsule.

Booster landing
New Shepard’s reusable booster comes in for a landing

The New Shepard booster is created to land similarly to SpaceX's Falcon 9 reusable rocket, falling back down to Earth and using the last of its fuel to perform a powered landing at a landing zone. The flight of experiment was arranged Olympiaspace, a European "commercial space agency" that took care of logistical and regulatory matters for the payload.

But Blue Origin officials have not announced pricing or when tickets might go on sale. "That means understanding everything that's necessary for human spaceflight, including the escape system".

Experiments hitching a ride on the test flight Wednesday include a privately-developed in-cabin WiFi transmitter, and a package of NASA sensors to measure cabin pressure, temperature, carbon dioxide levels, acoustic conditions, and acceleration inside the crew capsule.

One payload, called "Fly My Stuff", included personal items supplied by company employees.

With the production facility at Exploration Park all-but ready to start producing New Glenn hardware, work is also now taking place on the LC-11 and LC-36 pad facilities from which the rocket will be tested and launched from.

The rocket is set to launch at 11 AM ET.

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