Kent’s Blue Origin will be launching its New Shepard NS-15 rocket this Wednesday, April 14, 2021 from Launch Site One in West Texas.
Named after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to go to space, New Shepard is Blue Origin’s reusable suborbital rocket system designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line – the internationally recognized boundary of space.
Here’s more from your local rocket scientists:
The launch window opens at 6 a.m. PDT / 8:00 AM CDT / 13:00 UTC. Building on the incremental and consecutive mission successes for the vehicle over the course of the program’s flight history, NS-15 is a verification step for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts.
During the mission, astronaut operational exercises will be conducted in preparation for human space flight. The primary operations will entail Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch. These astronauts will climb the launch tower, get into their seats, buckle their harnesses, and conduct a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator. The tower operations team will prepare the capsule cabin for launch and then briefly close the capsule hatch. The astronauts will then exit the capsule prior to launch.
Post-landing, the astronauts will get inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening, and exiting the capsule at the landing site.
Inside the capsule during the flight will be Mannequin Skywalker, along with more than 25,000 postcards on behalf of Club for the Future, Blue Origin’s nonprofit organization. To participate in the postcards program, visit the Club for the Future website here.
As with previous missions, all mission crew supporting this launch are exercising strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel and surrounding communities.
— Gradatim Ferociter
#NewShepard NS-15 is targeting liftoff Wed., April 14, from Launch Site One. Launch window opens at 8:00 AM CDT / 13:00 UTC. NS-15 is a verification step prior to flying astronauts. Webcast starts at T-60 mins on https://t.co/7Y4TherpLr. Learn more: https://t.co/9c3S3Gxwow pic.twitter.com/lMvf071mtw
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 12, 2021