Blue root Just announced the timing of its next rocket launch – and it is surprisingly soon, on Thursday, September 24th in just two days. The launch of the New Shepard vehicle from Blue Origin would be the 13th overall for the launch craft category, and the 7th in row for this particular rocket. The payload will include more than a dozen commercial cargo items, including a deorbit, landing and landing sensor demonstration performed in partnership with NASA – basically a highly accurate automated landing system that will help NASA. Land on the Moon and finally Mars.
This payload is unique not only because of the technology involved in the landing system, but also because it would actually be mounted on the exterior of the booster stage of the New Shepherd, rather than in a capsule to ride it. This is the first time that Blue Origin has taken payloads in this way, and the company hopes it can pave the way for similar future missions, enabling high-altitude sensing and exposure to the external environment Experiments conducted through the use of instrumented devices are possible.
Other payloads of this flight will include postcards from the Blue Origin-founded nonprofit club for the Future, collected by students in schools around the world. There are also additional experiments from Johann Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab, Space Lab Technologies, Mu Space Corp, other NASA experiments and more.
Blue Origin plans a second test flight for landing technologies on board, and overall these are later emitted to help de-risk use of the sensor for operational feasibility.
The company has scheduled the launch for 10 pm CDT (11 pm EDT), and will move out of its launch facility in West Texas. The launch will be broadcast live, and a stream will begin 30 minutes before liftoff time, and a special message from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstein will include a message about the agency’s collaboration with Blue Origin. The last New Shepard launch took place last December, so it’s been almost a year since the company flew one of its spaceships.