Bad Weather Delays Blue Origin Launch of Reusable New Shepard Spacecraft

Blue Origin's New Shepard space capsule and rocket on the pad at the company's West Texas Launch Site in January 2019. The same rocket will launch the NS-12 mission on Dec. 11, 2019.
Blue Origin's New Shepard space capsule and rocket on the pad at the company's West Texas Launch Site in January 2019. The same rocket will launch the NS-12 mission on Dec. 11, 2019. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin will have to wait at least one more day to fly its first space mission in seven months after bad weather delayed a launch attempt today (Dec. 10). 

The private spaceflight company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hoped to launch a suborbital New Shepard spacecraft from a West Texas test site at 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT), but was forced to stand down due to unacceptable weather conditions. 

"We are scrubbing today's New Shepard launch due to weather conditions," Blue Origin wrote in a Twitter status update. "Our next launch attempt will be tomorrow morning, Wed. Dec. 11." The new mission will lift off at 10 a.m. EST (1300 GMT). 

You'll be able to watch the New Shepard launch on, courtesy of the Blue Origin, beginning about 30 minutes before liftoff. You can also watch the launch directly from Blue Origin's website here.

Related: How Blue Origin's New Shepard Rocket Ride Works (Infographic)

New Shepard is a reusable space capsule and rocket designed to take science payloads, and eventually paying passengers on suborbital trips to space. The New Shepard vehicle can make a vertical landing after launching its capsule into space. The capsule, meanwhile, returns to Earth using parachutes. It's been seven months since Blue Origin's last launch in May

The vehicle flying the NS-12 mission will be make its sixth spaceflight when it flies. The mission is Blue Origin's ninth commercial launch and includes the 100th commercial  payload among experiments for customers, universities and NASA

Packed among those payloads is a NASA space trash recycling experiment called OSCAR (after the trash-loving Oscar the Grouch on "Sesame Street"); a Columbia University student experiment to study the effects of weightlessness on cell biology; and a NASA "space plant" experiment to study gene expression in microgravity. 

Related: Art in Space Contest: A Conversation with OK Go's Damian Kulash

The spacecraft is also carrying two art experiments for the winners of the Art in Space Contest by the rock band OK Go, which challenged middle and high school students to come up with an intriguing space art payload for a Blue Origin flight. 

Thousands of postcards written and decorated by children from Blue Origin's nonprofit Club for the Future, which seeks to inspire kids in space exploration, are also launching on this mission, Blue Origin has said. 

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.