Antares booster on launch pad. Courtesy of Orbital ATK. Used with permission.
The number of private sector companies working to develop commercial exploration of space is amazing, as is the progress they are making. A few fun articles:
- Blue Origin’s capsule escape test went well; check out the video
- Orbital ATK successfully launched a Cygnus capsule on their Antares booster.
- Lots of companies are working in the small sat market, with lots of competition in all sectors of the open space frontier
10/5 – Popular Mechanics – Blue Origin’s Rocket Test Just Went Better Than Anyone Thought Possible – Blue Origin just successfully completed the crew capsule escape test. The capsule’s emergency rockets fired 70,000 pounds of thrust off angle to the flight of the booster to separate the capsule from the booster.
Speculation on Twitter yesterday is the off angle push would topple the booster and require its destruction.
Instead, the booster survived the capsule’s escape, continued climbing to over 200,000 feet, fell back to earth, and successfully recovered two miles from the launch site.
Check out the video. Jump to the 1:07:00 mark for the launch and escape. Watch another five minutes for the astounding recovery.
Amongst the other fabulous details, keep in mind the camera is tracking the booster at 200,000 feet, down through 100,000 feet, all the way to the ground. Amazing.
10/17 – Space.com – Orbital ATK’s Antares Rocket Returns to Flight with Gorgeous Night Cargo Launch – Read more…