Update: This launch is now scheduled for January 23 at 8:50 CST. We will update this post with a link to the livestream as it becomes available.
Blue Origin plans to launch its New Shepard Rocket shortly on its tenth mission from Corn Ranch Landing in West Texas. The vehicle will transport a plethora of NASA-sponsored payloads into suborbital space, where they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth.
Founded by Jeff Bezos and developed with his personal wealth, Blue Origin's reusable rockets are designed to lower the cost of accessing space. This flight will be the fourth for this new Shepard, and the company will once again try to regain the booster. Bezos said on stage at the WIRED25 conference in October: "If you land under rocket power, it's like balancing a broomstick on your fingertip."
Blue Origin last flew on July 1
One of the payloads required for this brief visit to microgravity is an experiment by the University of Central Florida that seeks to analyze the behavior of dust particles in space. This experiment also flew with Virgin Galactic's rocket-propelled spacecraft last month. The vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, brought two test pilots on Virgin's first manned flight to dip his wings into space.
Originally, Blue Origin had planned to make this flight in December before moving it. At that time, Blue Origin tweeted that problems with the ground infrastructure and other systems were discovered. The company then planned the launch again and delayed several times, citing a persistent strong wind.
Blue Origin has yet to release a payload into orbit, and this flight is no different. But space has long been Jeff Bezos's obsession. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin seek to improve the presence of humans outside the planet, with outposts on Mars in Musk's case and floating space colonies in Bezos. He imagines mega-space stations holding over a billion people and housing rivers and farmlands. But first, of course, he has to carry human passengers. "I hope this will happen in 2019," Bezos said at WIRED25. "I was hopeful that it would happen in 2018."
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