Blue Origin succeeds in dramatic test of crew-capsule escape system

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Blue Origin’s latest unmanned space rocket launch in west Texas Wednesday morning simulated a failure and proved an even bigger success than expected.

Blue Origin’s latest unmanned space-rocket launch in west Texas Wednesday morning simulated a failure and proved an even bigger success than expected.

In a test of the crew escape system — designed, in an emergency, to save any humans in the capsule atop the rocket — engineers deliberately triggered the system 45 seconds after liftoff at 8:36 a.m. Pacific time, as if a catastrophic launch failure had occurred.

The capsule, propelled by the 70,000-pound thrust of an emergency system engine, soared away from the booster, at first tumbling wildly along a parabolic arc then stabilizing as small initial parachutes opened to slow its flight.

Just over four minutes after liftoff, it landed…

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