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Blue Origin delays next crewed launch to Thursday due to high winds

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off from the company's West Texas launch site, carrying Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old Wally Funk, on July 20, 2021.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifts off from the company's West Texas launch site, carrying Jeff Bezos along with his brother Mark Bezos, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen and 82-year-old Wally Funk, on July 20, 2021. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin's next six spaceflyers will have to wait a couple of extra days to get to the final frontier.

Blue Origin has delayed the fourth crewed mission of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle from Tuesday (March 29) to Thursday (March 31), citing predicted high winds at the company's West Texas launch site over the next couple of days.

"#NewShepard Mission Operations has successfully completed Flight Readiness Review and weather is the only remaining factor to get to launch," Blue Origin representatives said via Twitter on Monday (opens in new tab) afternoon (March 28). 

Launch is scheduled to take place Thursday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT; 8:30 a.m. local time in Texas). You can watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company (opens in new tab), starting at 8:20 a.m. EDT (1220 GMT).

Related: Meet the 6 spaceflyers on Blue Origin's NS-20 mission

New Shepard consists of a rocket and a capsule, both of which are fully reusable. The vehicle has launched 19 times to date, which explains the name of the upcoming mission: NS-20. Most of those previous flights were uncrewed; NS-20 will be just the fourth crewed mission for Blue Origin.

NS-20 will carry five paying customers — businessman Marty Allen, philanthropic couple Sharon Hagle and Marc Hagle, teacher and entrepreneur Jim Kitchen, and George Nield, the president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC. The sixth passenger is Blue Origin employee Gary Lai, the chief architect of the New Shepard system.

Lai's seat was originally supposed to be filled by "Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson, but the actor dropped out after an earlier delay in the target launch date, from March 23 to March 29. 

Blue Origin has a history of launching celebrities such as Davidson on its suborbital space missions. For example, the company's first-ever spaceflight, which launched in July 2021, counted among its passengers Blue Origin founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and aviation pioneer Wally Funk. "Star Trek" actor William Shatner flew on the second mission, in October 2021, and NFL Hall of Famer and "Good Morning America" co-host Michael Strahan went up on the third crewed flight, in December 2021.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).  

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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.