Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is CLEARED for launch tomorrow
Blue Origin‘s New Shepard rocket is a go for launch on Wednesday, following a one-day delay due to windy weather.
The Jeff Bezos-founded company’s lead flight director. Nick Patrick. gave several updates about the launch on Tuesday, which will take actor William Shatner, Chris Boshuizen, Glen de Vries and Audrey Powers into space, 62 miles above Earth’s surface.
Speaking from Launch Site One in Texas, Patrick announced lift off is now at 10am ET instead of the original 9:30am – the rocket rollout was pushed back a a half hour due to wind.
The NS-18 rocket is scheduled to rollout two and half hours before liftoff, followed by propellant load three hours before and then the astronauts will head inside the capsule 35 minutes prior to take off.
Patrick also said the crew completed their first day of training Sunday, were off yesterday due to the slip in the original schedule and spent Tuesday completing launch training.
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Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is a go for launch Wednesday, following a one day delay due to windy weather
‘The training itself was designed to do three things for our astronauts,’ Patrick said during a video interview.
‘The first thing is it’s designed to train them on the safety systems that we have onboard the crew capsule and the expected responses from the crew if we were to have an emergency.’
The second is to prepare the crew for the unexpected aspects of spaceflight such as strange noises, bumps and accelerations, Patrick explained.
The third part of training teaches the crew how to behave in zero-gravity inside the cabin without colliding with their flight mates, he continued.
The mission will take will take William Shatner (2nd from right), Chris Boshuizen (right), Glen de Vries (left) and Audrey Powers (2nd from left) 62 miles above Earth’s surface
The NS-18 rocket is scheduled to rollout two and half hours before liftoff, followed by propellant load three hours before and then the astronauts will head inside the capsule 35 minutes prior to take off
‘I am very confident that we will learn tomorrow that this training has gone well for these four astronauts and we will be ready to launch them,’ said Patrick.
The four individuals are scheduled to pile inside a truck to the launch tower 45 minutes before lift-off.
The crew will then climb the tower, ring a bell that hangs at one end of the crossing and strap into the fully autonomous 60-foot-tall New Shepard rocket, ultimately blasting off from a base in the west Texas town of Van Horn on a journey to the edge of space.
The crew completed their first day of training Sunday, were off yesterday due to the slip in the original schedule and spent Tuesday completing launch training
Pictured is William Shatner entering the capsule during training
Here is Chris Boshuizen and William Shatner training inside the Blue Origin capsule
‘I’m going to see the vastness of space and the extraordinary miracle of our Earth and how fragile it is compared to the forces at work in the universe,’ Shatner, who is poised to become the oldest person in space, told NBC’s ‘Today‘ program.
‘I’m thrilled and anxious – and a little nervous and a little frightened – about this whole new adventure.’
The launch represents another crucial test of Blue Origin as the company competes against billionaire-backed rivals – Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic – to attract customers willing to pay large amounts of money to experience the exhilaration of spaceflight.
The New Shepard rocket is scheduled to rollout two and half hours before liftoff, followed by propellant load three hours before and then the astronauts will load inside the capsule just 35 mins prior to take off
Branson beat Bezos to space by just 10 days, as he and an entourage soared 53 miles above Earth’s surface in July, however Bezos climbed two miles higher when he took to the skies.
Although Musk has yet to take the journey himself, his firm recently sent four civilians into orbit last moth for a three-day trip around Earth.
Musk has, however, purchased a seat on Branson’s space tourism rocket – but has yet to reveal when he will take the epic journey.
THE BILLIONAIRE SPACE RACE: HOW BRANSON, MUSK AND BEZOS ARE VYING FOR GALACTIC SUPREMACY
Jeff Bezos in front of Blue Origin’s space capsule
Dubbed the ‘NewSpace’ set, Jeff Bezos, Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk all say they were inspired by the first moon landing in 1969, when the US beat the Soviet Union in the space race, and there is no doubt how much it would mean to each of them to win the ‘new space race’.
Amazon founder Bezos had looked set to be the first of the three to fly to space, having announced plans to launch aboard his space company Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft on July 20, but Branson beat him to the punch.
The British billionaire became Virgin Galactic Astronaut 001 when he made it to space on a suborbital flight nine days before Bezos – on July 11 in a test flight.
Bezos travelled to space on July 20 with his younger brother Mark, Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old physics student whose dad purchased his ticket, and pioneering female astronaut Wally Funk, 82.
Although SpaceX and Tesla founder Musk has said he wants to go into space, and even ‘die on Mars’, he has not said when he might blast into orbit – but has purchased a ticket with Virgin Galactic for a suborbital flight.
SpaceX became the first of the ‘space tourism’ operators to send a fully civilian crew into orbit, with the Inspiration4 mission funded by billionaire Jared Isaacman.
His flight was on a Dragon capsule and SpaceX rocket built by space-obsessed billionaire, Elon Musk and took off for the three day orbital trip on September 16 – going higher than the International Space Station.
SpaceX appears to be leading the way in the broader billionaire space race with numerous launches carrying NASA equipment to the ISS and partnerships to send tourists to space by 2021.
On February 6 2018, SpaceX sent rocket towards the orbit of Mars, 140 million miles away, with Musk’s own red Tesla roadster attached.
Elon Musk with his Dragon Crew capsule
SpaceX has also taken two groups of astronauts to the |International Space Station, with crew from NASA, ESA and JAXA, the Japanese space agency.
SpaceX has been sending batches of 60 satellites into space to help form its Starlink network, which is already in beta and providing fast internet to rural areas.
Branson and Virgin Galactic are taking a different approach to conquering space. It has repeatedly, and successfully, conducted test flights of the Virgin Galactic’s Unity space plane.
The first took place in December 2018 and the latest on May 22, with the flight accelerating to more than 2,000 miles per hour (Mach 2.7).
More than 600 affluent customers to date, including celebrities Brad Pitt and Katy Perry, have reserved a $250,000 (£200,000) seat on one of Virgin’s space trips. The final tickets are expected to cost $350,000.
Branson has previously said he expects Elon Musk to win the race to Mars with his private rocket firm SpaceX.
Richard Branson with the Virgin Galactic craft
SpaceShipTwo can carry six passengers and two pilots. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows – one to the side and one overhead.
The space ship is 60ft long with a 90inch diameter cabin allowing maximum room for the astronauts to float in zero gravity.
It climbs to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier craft, White Knight II, once it has passed the 50-mile mark.
Passengers become ‘astronauts’ when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere.
The spaceship will then make a suborbital journey with approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 1.5 hours.
Bezos revealed in April 2017 that he finances Blue Origin with around $1 billion (£720 million) of Amazon stock each year.
The system consists of a pressurised crew capsule atop a reusable ‘New Shepard’ booster rocket.
At its peak, the capsule reached 65 miles (104 kilometres), just above the official threshold for space and landed vertically seven minutes after liftoff.
Blue Origin are working on New Glenn, the next generation heavy lift rocket, that will compete with the SpaceX Falcon 9.