Update for 10:50 am ET: Blue Origin has successfully launched its New Shepard rocket and capsule on the NS-17 suborbital mission. You can watch a replay above. Read our full launch recap story here.
Fresh off its debut crewed spaceflight last month, Blue Origin plans a new launch to suborbital space Thursday (Aug. 26) focusing on science payloads — and you can watch it live here.
The uncrewed mission, called NS-17, will be the 17th flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket-capsule combo. It is scheduled to lift off from the company's West Texas facility no earlier than 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT). Blue Origin will provide a live broadcast of the mission beginning at approximately 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), and you can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of Blue Origin. The livestream will be available on Blue Origin's website.
Onboard the New Shepard spacecraft will be 18 commercial payloads, including 11 NASA-sponsored experiments. There will also be thousands of kid-authored postcards within the spacecraft from Blue Origin's nonprofit Club for the Future, along with an art installation — Amoako Boafo's "Suborbital Tryptych."
Data will also be gathered outside the capsule from NASA's Deorbit, Descent and Landing Sensor Demonstration experiment, a suite of technologies designed to help spacecraft land more accurately on the moon and other cosmic bodies. (Blue Origin flew the sensor suite once before, in October 2020.)
Blue Origin has two New Shepard spacecraft available to use — one for payloads, and one for people. The people-focused spacecraft flew to space July 20 carrying 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Bezos' brother Mark, and 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen.
Virgin Galactic is Blue Origin's main competitor in suborbital space tourism, flying passengers aboard a space plane (launched from beneath a carrier aircraft) rather than a rocket. Virgin Galactic is selling seats for $450,000 apiece, while Blue Origin hasn't yet announced what a New Shepard ride costs. Virgin Galactic also had its debut crewed launch last month to suborbital space.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace