New Shepard landing on the pad in West Texas on August 26, 2021, with the NASA Lunar Landing Sensor Demo mounted on the exterior of the booster during this planned second flight. Photo courtesy Blue Origin.
Kent-based Blue Origin on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021 successfully completed the 17th New Shepard mission to space and back for the program, and the 8th consecutive flight for this particular vehicle.
Thursday’s unmanned flight featured payloads supported by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program and included a second flight of the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing (DDL) Sensor Demonstration under a NASA Tipping Point partnership. The DDL demonstration, which flew for the second time mounted on the exterior of New Shepard’s booster, tested technology designed to achieve high-accuracy landing for future Moon missions. This aims to enable long-term lunar exploration.
“After flying more than 100 payloads to space on New Shepard, today’s 8th flight of this vehicle carried NASA-
Other payload highlights
NS-17 Key Mission Stats
- 8th consecutive successful flight to space and back for this New Shepard vehicle.
- 18th consecutive successful crew capsule landing (every flight in program, including a pad escape test in 2012).
- The crew capsule reached an apogee of 343,787 ft above ground level (AGL) / 347,434 ft mean sea level (MSL) (104.8 km AGL / 105.9 km MSL).
- The booster reached an apogee of 343,385 ft AGL / 347,032 ft MSL (104.7 km AGL / 105.8 km MSL).
- The mission elapsed time was 10 min 15 sec and the max ascent velocity was 2,232 mph / 3,592 km/h.
- The mission carried thousands of postcards from Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s foundation.
All mission crew and onsite personnel supporting this launch exercised safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to themselves, customers, and surrounding communities.
Watch the full launch video below (launch starts around the 1-hour, 30-minute mark):