Blue Origin gets vehicle testing go-ahead

Alan Boyle at Cosmic Log is reporting that Blue Origin has won an experimental permit to conduct flight tests from their Van Horn, Texas, launch site.

With permit in hand, Blue Origin can proceed with plans for unmanned testing at the West Texas site. The company said in its environmental assessment that up to 10 rocket tests could be conducted this year, using a remote-controlled vehicle that would rise no higher than 2,000 feet (610 meters) during flights lasting less than a minute.

Over the next couple of years, the tests would become increasingly ambitious, leading to piloted flights in the 2009-2010 time frame. Blue Origin’s environmental assessment calls for suborbital passenger service to begin in 2010, with roughly one flight per week.

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