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Blue Origin to Launch NASA Payload in 10th New Shepard Mission

It’s going to be a busy week for space exploration, with no less than four different private companies scheduled to launch various cargo to orbit on Tuesday alone: SpaceX, Blue Origin, Arianespace and United Launch Alliance.
Blue Origin New Shepard on the launch pad 1 photo
For Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space-faring company, Tuesday’s launch will be the 10th flight test for the New Shepard rocket-capsule combo. The mission will carry to space nine NASA-backed research projects. Among them, experiments on microgravity, electromagnetic fields collecting and analyzing material samples.

The launch will also act as yet another test for the New Shepard, as part of its payload will serve the purpose of measuring cabin pressure, temperature, CO2, acoustic conditions, or acceleration and improve future experiments to be shipped up to orbit using Blue Origin.

Once all the testing ends, the spaceship will mostly be used to carry tourists to space and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). 

The New Shepard takes its name after the first American astronaut in space, Alan Shepard. The first tests for the spaceship were conducted in 2006. The contraption is made of a capsule and booster rocket that launch vertically from a launchpad. 150 seconds from launch, the booster engine cuts off, and the capsule glides into space. Both the booster and the capsule are intended to come back down to Earth safely.

When it enters full service, the New Shepard capsule will be capable of carrying six people in a space ten times larger than the one Alan Shepard had on his Mercury flight in 1961. The capsule also features windows that make up for one-third of the surface, the largest windows ever fitted on a spaceship. 

Tourists who will hitch a ride in the New Shepard will have to pay in excess of $200,000 for a ticket.

Tuesday’s New Shepard launch is scheduled for 8:30 am CST / 14:30 UTC, nineteen minutes after the SpaceX launch, from West Texas.

press release

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