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Blue Origin to resume crewed New Shepard launches on May 19 | TechCrunch

Blue Origin to resume crewed New Shepard launches on May 19 | TechCrunch

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket will carry a crew to subspace for the first time in nearly two years, the company announced Tuesday.

The NS-25 mission will launch on May 19 from Blue's launch site in West Texas. The launch window opens at 8:30am. The six-person crew included Ed Dwight, the first black astronaut candidate (but for whom this would be his first trip to space), along with investor Mason Angel, who had founded industrial ventures focused on space and defense. .

The launch comes after a gap of almost two years since the NS-22 mission in August 2022. A long break in launches occurred only after the cargo mission when NS-22 experienced an anomaly, which activated the capsule's abort system one minute after liftoff. While the capsule parachuted to safety, the booster was lost.

After such accidents, it is customary for the Federal Aviation Administration to open an investigation. (These investigations are simply overseen by the FAA, but conducted by the company.) In March 2023, Blue Origin said the malfunction was caused by the rocket's BE-3PM engine running hotter than expected. This caused catastrophic thermal damage to the engine nozzle.

However, it took the FAA another six months Officially close the investigation. The FAA added that it and Blue Origin had identified 21 corrective actions before New Shepard's next mission. The mission finally took place in December 2023, when New Shepard Successfully carried 33 payloads. On the subspace. By industry standards, this was a relatively long delay, and Blue Origin never explained why.

New Shepard is the only operational rocket from the Jeff Bezos-backed company. As the mission name suggests, it has flown 24 times since 2015, with the 25th being the 7th manned flight. Blue Origin is also developing a heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn, a lunar lander called Blue Moon (a version of which is under a multibillion-dollar contract with NASA) and a viable spacecraft called Blue Ring. is preparing

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