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Blue Origin launches New Shepard vehicle on first test flight
Posted: Sat, May 2, 2015, 11:02 AM ET (1502 GMT)
New Shepard launches on first test flight, April 2015 (Blue Origin) Blue Origin announced late Wednesday that it completed the first test flight of its suborbital New Shepard vehicle, flying the vehicle to the edge of space but failing to recover part of the vehicle. The company launched New Shepard from its test site in West Texas, flying the vehicle to a peak altitude of more than 93.5 kilometers and achieving a top speed of Mach 3. The vehicle's crew capsule, which carried no people on this test flight, separated from the propulsion module and parachuted back to Earth, as planned. The propulsion module was intended to make a vertical landing under its rocket engine but suffered a hydraulic failure that prevented it from being recovered, the company said. Blue Origin, backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, said it is working to improve the vehicle's hydraulic systems and is working on two more propulsion modules. The company has not given a timetable for when it expects to begin commercial flights.
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