Blue Origin will launch its first mission in more than 15 months this morning (Dec. 18), and you can watch the action live.
Blue Origin‘s New Shepard suborbital vehicle is scheduled to lift off from the company’s West Texas site today during a window that opens at 9:30 a.m. EST (1430 GMT; 8:30 a.m. local Texas time).
New Shepard is a reusable rocket-capsule combo that flies people and payloads to suborbital space. The vehicle hasn’t flown since Sept. 12, 2022, when it suffered an anomaly during an uncrewed research flight.
That failure resulted in the loss of New Shepard’s first-stage booster, though the capsule landed safely under parachutes and the 36 research payloads survived intact.
Blue Origin’s mishap investigation identified the cause of the crash as a “thermo-structural failure” of the nozzle on the engine that powers New Shepard’s booster. The company has implemented corrective measures and is now ready to fly again.
Like the September 2022 flight, today’s mission — known as NS-24, because it will be the 24th overall liftoff for New Shepard — is uncrewed. It will carry 33 research payloads, more than half of them “developed and flown with support from NASA,” Blue Origin wrote in a mission description.
“Others come from K-12 schools, universities, and STEAM-focused organizations,” they added. (STEAM stands for “science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.”)
Today’s flight will also tote 38,000 postcards for Club for the Future, a nonprofit founded by Blue Origin that aims to get young people interested in space science and exploration.