If Jeff Bezos' rocket fails during launch, an emergency system should jettison him to safety

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Business Insider 16 July, 2021 - 02:54pm 38 views

Is Bezos going to space?

When is Jeff Bezos going to space? Bezos will head skywards on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 on a journey that from lift-off to soft landing will take just 11 minutes. ForbesJeff Bezos In Space: When And Where You Can Watch The Billionaire Take An 11-Minute Trip To The Edge Of Space

When is Blue Origin launching?

Blue Origin's first human launch with Jeff Bezos: When to watch and what to know. The launch is set for 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on July 20, 2021. Space.comBlue Origin's first human launch with Jeff Bezos: When to watch and what to know

Who is the 18 year old going to space?

Jeff Bezos' rocket company Blue Origin announced its first paying customer, who at 18 years old will also be the youngest person to travel to space. Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen will join the Amazon founder, his brother, Mark Bezos, and pilot Wally Funk when they launch into space aboard the New Shepard rocket July 20. NBC News18-year-old customer on Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket to be youngest person ever in space

Who is Oliver daemon?

18-year-old Oliver Daemon will join Blue Origin's founder Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, and 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk on the suborbital mission launching July 20 from Van Horn, Texas. ... According to Blue Origin, he plans to attend college at the University of Utrecht to study physics and innovation management. WMFEBlue Origin's Fourth And Final Passenger Will Be Youngest To Launch To Space

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"It's about 10,000 times more dangerous than flying on a commercial airliner," George Nield, a former associate administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, previously told Insider. "In order to learn how to do this safer, more reliably, and more cost effectively, many people believe we need to keep gaining experience by having more and more of these flights."

Climbing aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket with Bezos — and also placing their lives in the company's hands — will be his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen. The rocket is set to carry them to the edge of space, where they'll experience about three minutes of weightlessness and stunning views.

About 1% of US human spaceflights have resulted in a fatal accident, according to an analysis that Nield co-authored earlier this year.

Like many other launch systems, though, New Shepard comes with an escape system. If the rocket starts to fail, the capsule that carries the passengers is programmed to detach itself from the rocket and jettison away from impending doom.

It's designed to "get the astronauts away, and get them to safety," Gary Lai, senior director of New Shepard's design, said in a Blue Origin video about safety, posted online in April.

If all goes according to plan, Bezos and his companions will lift off from Blue Origin's Texas launchpad around 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday. The New Shepard rocket will scream through the atmosphere, pressing the riders into their seats, before releasing the passenger capsule and allowing it to arc past the edge of space. The entire flight is automated, so no pilot will be onboard flying the spaceship.

For about three minutes, Bezos and his companions will feel weightless. They'll be able to float around the spaceship's cabin, admiring the Earth's curvature below, before gravity begins to pull them back down. As they plunge through the atmosphere, the capsule should release three parachutes and drift safely to the Texas desert.

That's the best-case scenario. But Blue Origin has also practiced for the worst. The company has tested the capsule's escape system three times — once on the launchpad, once in mid-air, and once in space.

For the first test, in 2012, the capsule launched itself away from a stand on the ground. That showed that it can escape accidents on the launchpad. Then in 2016, Blue Origin tested the system at a higher elevation. The capsule shot itself away from the rocket in mid-flight — "at its most stressing condition," according to Lai.

In 2018, the company took the escape-system test into space. After the New Shepard rocket separated and began to fall away, the capsule immediately fired its boosters and pushed itself into Earth's atmosphere, plunging back to the ground and opening its parachutes for a safe landing.

Presumably, this means that if the New Shepard rocket threatens to explode anywhere, the capsule should be able to carry its passengers to safety.

"The capsule is the most highly redundant and safe spaceflight system, we think, that has ever been designed or flown," Lai said. "If a system fails, you have a backup system. And, in most cases, you have a backup to the backup system."

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