Blue Origin Will Launch (and Land) a Reusable Spacecraft Wednesday. Watch It Live

Editor's update for 12 pm ET: Blue Origin has called off its launch attempt today for the NS-12 New Shepard flight due to unacceptable weather. The next launch attempt will be Wednesday, Dec. 11, with liftoff time targeted for 12:43 pm ET (1743 GMT).  Read our full story.

Original story

Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, will launch a spacecraft filled with science experiments — and thousands of postcards from kids — today (Dec. 10), but only if Mother Nature allows. 

The company's reusable New Shepard spacecraft is scheduled to launch on the suborbital NS-12 mission at 11:30 a.m. EST (1630 GMT) from Blue Origin's West Texas proving grounds. 

You can watch Blue Origin's launch here and on's homepage, courtesy of the company's webcast, beginning at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT). You can also watch the launch directly from Blue Origin's website here.

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

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 is watching the weather, however, which may not be the best for a launch. 

"Current weather conditions aren't as favorable as we’d like, but we're continuing to keep an eye on the forecast," Blue Origin wrote in a mission update

The NS-12 mission will mark Blue Origin's twelfth New Shepard launch and sixth using this particular New Shepard spacecraft. The vehicle made its first flight in December 2017, with two more in 2018 and two more flights this year in January and May, respectively. NS-12 will be Blue Origin's ninth commercial mission using a New Shepard vehicle.

For this flight, New Shepard is carrying a series of science experiments for NASA and other customers, including Blue Origin's 100th payload for customer, the company reported. Some of the science experiments include:

  • A NASA "space plant" experiment to study gene expression in microgravity;
  • OSCAR: A NASA recycling technology test to turn trash into water and gases like hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and methane;
  • An experiment by Columbia University students in New York City to study the effects of microgravity on cell biology;
  • Two winning art projects from the Art in Space contest with rock back OK Go, which partnered with Blue Origin in the contest for middle school and high school students. 

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

Packed among the experiments are thousands of postcards with handwritten messages and artwork from children from Blue Origin's nonprofit Club for the Future. Blue Origin launched the club in May to inspire children in space exploration. Its first project is to launch 10,000 postcards from kids containing their visions of humanity's future in space. 

The NS-12 launch will be New Shepard's first flight in seven months, during which time Blue Origin has unveiled plans for a crewed lunar lander for NASA and has been working on a passenger version of New Shepard

"As we move towards verifying New Shepard for human spaceflight we are continuing to mature the safety and reliability of the vehicle," Blue Origin wrote in its mission update. 

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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.