Flight Four – One Chute Out

New Shepard flew again on June 19, 2016, reaching an apogee of 331,504 feet (101.042 kilometers). It was the fourth flight with this booster and the sixth flight of this capsule. This time, we intentionally did not deploy one of three parachutes on the capsule and proved we could softly land with only two of them open. We’ve designed the capsule to have one or two levels of redundancy in every system needed for crew safety, including the separation systems, parachutes, reaction control thrusters, landing retro-thrusters, flight computers, and power systems. We also changed the ascending trajectory of the booster to adopt a more aggressive tilt towards our landing pad to the north after liftoff. We did this maneuver to test the ascent trajectory we will use during Transonic Escape Test, planned for later this year. During Transonic Escape Test, we will intentionally fire the capsule’s solid-rocket escape motor in-flight at transonic speeds to divert and propel it away from a fully thrusting booster and demonstrate we can safely recover the capsule.

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