Amazon founder's new spaceship completes wind tunnel tests

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Blue Origin, the spaceflight company backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has released the next little snippet of information about how its plans are progressing.

It says it's successfully tested the design of its next-generation Space Vehicle, with a series of wind tunnel tests to refine the aerodynamics of its unusual shape.

"Our Space Vehicle’s innovative biconic shape provides greater cross-range and interior volume than traditional capsules without the weight penalty of winged spacecraft," says Rob Meyerson, the company's president and program manager.

"This is just one of the vehicle’s many features that enhance the safety and affordability of human spaceflight, a goal we share with NASA."

More than 180 wind tunnel tests, carried out in partnership with NASA, have now been carried out at Lockheed Martin’s High Speed Wind Tunnel Facility in Dallas - very successfully, says Blue Origin.

The design of the ship is intended to increase the lift-over-drag ratio  to give better control over steering.

Later this year, the company plans to test its pusher escape system, along with the thrust chamber assembly for the BE-3 100,000-lbf liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine. This will power the first, reusable stage of the two-stage rocket.

The Space Vehicle is one of two ships planned by Blue Origin. Last year, its New Shephard vertical-takeoff-and-landing ship, intended for tourist missions as well as ISS resupply, crashed during tests.