Washington, DC- The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) and its Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) congratulates Blue Origin and all of their payload partners on the successful suborbital research flight it carried out on April 2nd. On this flight, Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle carried a number of university and private research institute scientific payloads, further solidifying a commercial market which provides researchers, technologists, and educators more frequent and affordable access to microgravity for research topics that can advance spaceflight and life on Earth.
Experiments on this first science mission explored the physics of particulate collisions and settling in weightlessness such as in the rings of Saturn and surfaces of asteroids. SARG members Dr. Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute and Professor Josh Colwell of the University of Central Florida led the experiment teams that produced payloads for this flight.
Dr. Steven Collicott, the Chair of SARG and a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, states, “These two pathfinder experiments flown by Blue Origin during their flight test program clearly show that a very large change in how we think about suborbital spaceflight for research and education is appropriate.” He adds, “Multiple CSF member companies are pursuing human-tended and automated suborbital research flights, and the next year or two are expected to be exciting times for us all as this new era begins.”
Since 2009, SARG members have advocated for wise regulatory choices, as well as broad scientific awareness of the emerging opportunities that the commercial spaceflight industry enables. In recent years, reusable vehicles from the private sector have served as reliable flight providers for a diverse range of fields, including atmospheric sciences, cellular biology, solar astronomy, physical sciences, human physiology, planetary science, and even K-12 education.
SARG and CSF leaders look forward to the establishment of frequent flight programs necessary to support regular, commercial suborbital science mission operations. Interested researchers and educators are invited to attend the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, June 2-4 in Broomfield, Colorado where these many new opportunities will be discussed.
Image courtesy of Blue Origin.