Blue Origin is launching a New Shepard rocket for its NS-14 mission from West Texas today at 11:57 a.m. EST (16:57 UTC). NS-14 is the first mission for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company in 2021 and only the third New Shepard mission in the last 13 months.
In the future, Blue Origin plans to fly passengers on the New Shepard vehicle. The suborbital rocket travels to the Karman line that defines space then lands near the launch site. Passengers will see the planet from space and experience zero gravity for a few magical minutes before returning to the surface of Earth.
In preparation for flying people on suborbital spaceflights, New Shepard will carry a very special passenger named Mannequin Skywalker on today’s mission:
For this mission, the crew capsule will be outfitted with upgrades for the astronaut experience as the program nears human space flight. The upgrades include improvements to environmental features such as acoustics and temperature regulation inside the capsule, crew display panels, and speakers with a microphone and push-to-talk button at each seat. The mission will also test a number of astronaut communication and safety alert systems. The capsule will be outfitted with six seats, including one occupied by Mannequin Skywalker.
May the Force be with you, Mannequin. Read more about the NS-14 mission here, and stay tuned for the upcoming launch happening today!
Mission NS-14 infographic courtesy of the excellent Geoff Barrett:
View the launch
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