Watch Live: Blue Origin Subjects its Rocket to High-Altitude Escape Test [arstechnica.com]:
As it continues to progress toward human flights, Blue Origin will perform another potentially dangerous, uncrewed test today of its New Shepard rocket and spacecraft. Although it has not yet provided details, the company says [twitter.com] it will fly "a high altitude escape motor test—pushing the rocket to its limits." The test is scheduled to begin at 10 am EDT (14:00 UTC) at the company's West Texas launch site.
This is the ninth test of the reusable New Shepard system, and the third in which it has included commercial payloads [blueorigin.com] on it short suborbital flights. This time, the company is also flying a suite of materials from Blue Origin employees as a part of its internal “Fly My Stuff” program. (It's unclear at this point exactly how "abort test" and "payload" fit together in the same mission—presumably the high altitude abort will be followed by the New Shepard spacecraft pressing to orbit, but we're not exactly sure. Blue Origin will have more details about exactly what's going on when its webcast starts.)
This is not the first high-energy test [arstechnica.com] of New Shepard. In October, 2016, the company conducted a lower altitude in-flight escape test when engineers intentionally triggered the spacecraft's launch abort system at about 45 seconds after launch, and an altitude of 16,000 feet. Such systems are designed to fire quickly and separate the crew capsule from the booster during an emergency.
Live feed on YouTube [youtube.com] should start approximately 20 minutes before the 10:00AM EDT (14:00 UTC) launch./p>