Blue Origin’s emergency crew capsule test was one of its most dramatic missions yet

Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin team tested the New Shepard rocket’s capsule escape system this week, and the entire procedure ran like clockwork.

In dramatic fashion, and precisely according to plan, the New Shepard’s unmanned crew capsule blasted away from the main booster with phenomenal force 45  seconds after launch, at an altitude of 16,000 feet. If future crew or space tourists ever have to experience the emergency escape, they’re in for quite a ride.

“There it is, 70,000 pounds of thrust pushing that crew capsule at 400 mph,” the commentator said during Tuesday’s live-stream as the capsule hurtled at breakneck speed away from the New Shepard.

The capsule, still traveling at enormous speed, swayed from side to side for a few seconds before stabilizing. Then, as it began to fall back to Earth, the first set of its parachutes deployed to bring it gently home.

Once the capsule was safely back on terra firma, attention turned to the New Shepard. Having survived the massive blast from the crew capsule upon separation, was it still in good enough shape to land back at base like it has done on four previous missions? You bet it was.

Just over seven minutes after leaving the launchpad, New Shepard made a perfect landing.

The mission was a major success for the Blue Origin team as it confirmed, for the first time, the viability of its capsule escape system.

Prior to the mission, Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos said it was so tricky he expected the New Shepard would end up slamming into the desert floor and exploding. But he couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

The crew capsule, part of Blue Origin’s reusable rocket system, is able to hold up to six people and is on course to take paying passengers to the edge of space – around 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface – within the next couple of years.

The New Shepard won’t be taking any humans skyward, though. Bezos said before this week’s mission that if the booster did somehow survive, Blue Origin would “reward it for its service with a retirement party and put it in a museum.” That should be some party.

Check out the dramatic emergency crew capsule test in the video above. The action kicks off around the 1hr 6min mark.

Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Luigi U Deluxe'

Just like all other 2D Mario games, New Super Mario Bros. Deluxe includes secret exits and world skips. In this guide, we'll show you how to get to all 12 secret exits in New Super Luigi U.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Meet Wiliot, a battery-less Bluetooth chip that pulls power from thin air

A tiny chip from a semiconductor company called Wiliot could harvest energy out of thin air, the company claims. No battery needed. The paper-thin device pulls power from ambient radio frequencies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cell signals.
Emerging Tech

Hexbot is a modular robot arm that does everything from drawing to playing chess

Who wouldn’t want their own personal robot arm to do everything from laser engraving to competing against you in a game of chess? That's what Hexbot, a new modular robot, promises to deliver.