[UPDATED] Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-24 Is Successfully Launched!13th Dec 2023
Update 19 December : Successful Launch of NS-24 Rocket
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket was successfully launched first time in 463 days. The booster landed after a smooth launch and capsule touchdown. Congrats to the team on a successful mission. This is the ninth re-use of the booster by Blue Origin.
The Blue Origin company, led by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, is gearing up for the launch of its New Shepard rocket on 19th December at 16:37 London time (10:37 AM CST). The New Shepard rocket is scheduled to take off from Launch Site One in West Texas, with Blue Origin planning to broadcast the launch live on its website starting 20 minutes before the countdown.
The company announced the opening of the launch window on its X (former Twitter) account.
The launch of the New Shepard rocket marks Blue Origin’s first launch in over a year following the suspension of its space tourist program last September.
Update 19 December: New Launch Window
The eagerly anticipated NS24 launch by Blue Origin has been scheduled for December 19. The new launch window is set to open at 10:37 AM CST / 16:37 UTC.
UPDATE: 18 December
Today’s launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard NS-24 has been postponed due to an identified ground system issue. As a result, the launch is currently on hold as the team conducts thorough troubleshooting. As per Blue Origin’s statement, an update with a revised launch date for this week will be announced shortly.
Details of the New Shepard rocket
As reported, the upcoming flight will carry 33 science and research payloads. These payloads consist of technology designed to collect data and conduct experiments in space. Additionally, the New Shepard rocket will transport 38,000 postcards to space from the nonprofit organization Club for the Future.
The New Shepard rocket is designed to accommodate six individuals for an 11-minute journey. Departing from the private facility in West Texas, the rocket will ascend above 100 kilometers, providing passengers with a few minutes of weightlessness. The capsule will operate autonomously without a human pilot and descend with the help of parachutes, landing in the Texas desert. Notably, the New Shepard rocket booster is reusable, returning to Earth to land on a concrete pad near the launch site.
The New Shepard program
The upcoming launch marks Blue Origin’s reentry into the space tourism competition following a mid-launch malfunction during NS-23 mission in September 2022. This malfunction led to the grounding of the New Shepard program for over a year during an investigation.
Investigation into NS-23 Mission
The Federal Aviation Administration concluded its investigation into the NS-23 mission earlier this year, requiring Blue Origin to implement 21 corrective actions. These actions included enhancements to structural performance during operation and organizational changes within the company.
Previous successes of the New Shepard rocket
Before the malfunction in 2022 during an unmanned mission, the New Shepard had achieved successful space flights with 31 people on board. Among them were notable figures like Star Trek actor William Shatner and Jeff Bezos himself.