Blue Origin reschedules New Shepard test flight


As the company is edging closer to moving people into space, Blue Origin has again scheduled the test flight, on Jan 21, of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle.

It was announced on January 18 by the company that the flight, designated NS-10, had been rescheduled for January 21 from company’s test site in West Texas. The announcement co-occurred by the Federal Aviation Administration, curtailing the airspace around site between 8:30 am and 3 pm, with the release of notice to the airmen, or NOTAM.

The flight was at first was planned to carry out on December 18. But it was postponed due to a ground infrastructure issue which was not stated explicitly. When that problem was rectified, on December 19 the company said that it “intended additional systems need to be addressed,” and the launch was beaten back to early 2019.

Blue Origin New Shepard Test Flight
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Image Credit: Blue Origin

Since launch on July 18, which was intended to test the abort motor in crew capsule, this flight will be first for New Shepard. The motor was fired briefly after capsule happens to separate from its propulsion module. The capsule made a regular landing, under the parachutes, as propulsion module made a powered vertical landing.

The vehicle which is scheduled for its test flight on January 21 will carry nine experiments which will be provided by the NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. These experiments are from a mix of institutes, universities, and NASA centers. The freight will ambit from the microgravity research freight in the fields like planetary sciences and fluid dynamics to the technology demonstrations that will supervise the conditions in the vehicle.

The forthcoming flight is not supposed to carry people. Nevertheless, the company officials said is the recent weeks that anticipate starting flying people on the New Shepard in this year.

The head of astronaut sales and strategy at Blue Origin, Ariane Cornell, said, “Soon-we are aiming for this year – we will be putting people in that capsule,” during the panel session, on January 16, on commercial space at the annual meeting of Transportation Research Board.

Cornell said at another conference, earlier in this month that the company has still to start selling the tickets for the commercial flights of New Shepard and even is still to set a price for the ticket.

“We will be putting scientists and engineers in the capsule with their experiments as well, for tended payloads,” was said by the company. So, tourists will not be the only people Blue Origin is planning to fly on the New Shepard missions.