(Image credit: Blue Origin)
Blue Origin plans to launch a uncrewed test flight of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle on Wednesday (April 14), also you will watch the action live online.
The organization, which is led by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, will start New Shepard from its West Texas website on Wednesday during a window that opens in 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT; 8 a.m. local time), if all goes according to plan. You can view it on this webpage and here, as well as about the Space.com homepage, starting an hour before liftoff, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company.
Blue Origin is developing New Shepard, a reusable rocket-capsule combo, to take paying clients and payloads on brief trips to suborbital space. Wednesday’s flight, also known as NS-15, will not carry any folks, but it will be a significant step toward crewed operations.
“During the mission, astronaut operational exercises will be conducted in preparation for human spaceflight,” Blue Origin representatives composed in a mission description.
“The primary operations will entail Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch,” they added. “These astronauts will climb the launch tower, get into their seats, buckle their harnesses and conduct a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator.”
The Blue Origin employees will depart the New Shepard capsule before launch. After landing, they will get back into the pill to rehearse exit processes, according to the description.
NS-15 will be the 15th New Shepard flight total and the next for NS-4, the brand new and updated vehicle that’s expected to be the first to transport astronauts. Much like NS-4’s first flight, which occurred in January, Wednesday’s test mission will carry aloft Blue Origin’s instrument-laden dummy, Mannequin Skywalker, along with thousands of postcards, the assignment description states.
These exemptions were sent in by students around the world via Blue Origin’s nonprofit organization, Club for the Future, which organized such operations on many previous New Shepard flights as well.
Mike Wall is the author of”Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; exemplified by Karl Tate), a novel about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.