Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Spacecraft Has Successful Test Flight After Delaying Take-off
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spacecraft, New Shepard, took off successfully on Wednesday in a record flight despite being initially delayed.
"The booster has landed," Blue Origin tweeted. "This is the 6th consecutive successful flight to space and back for this fully reusable rocket booster (a record)."
The mission was originally scheduled to take off on Tuesday but was rescheduled due to bad weather. On Wednesday, the launch was delayed a few hours as a result of fog, according to live updates from Blue Origin's website..
The launch is happened from a Blue Origin facility in West, Texas. New Shepard, a reusable spacecraft, was loaded with postcards from kids and experiments.
"Congratulations @blueorigin on another successful New Shepard launch!" NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted. "Thanks for flying NASA-supported tech on #NS12 like @NASAKennedy's method for managing trash in space, @UF's space plants experiment, and more."
The cargo onboard included two experiments from NASA — one is a “space plant” experiment to study gene expression in microgravity and the other is a recycling test — one experiment from Columbia University students on cell biology and two winning art projects from middle and high school students, thanks to Blue Origin's partnership with OK Go Sandbox.
This mission, called NS-12, will be the 12th New Shepard launch and the sixth time using this particular spacecraft.
“This will also be the 9th commercial payload mission for New Shepard, and we are proud to be flying our 100th customer on board,” the company said in a press release. By customer, the company does not mean humans.
Once Blue Origin is fully operational, it will fly passengers to the edge of space to experience free-fall and to look down on the Earth. Bezos originally predicted the system would be capable of taking tourists to space by the end of 2019 but, with only a few weeks left in the year, it is unlikely to happen within that time frame.
Meanwhile, Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, says they are on track to launch the first space tour flights in 2020. The two are also in competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to become the first with regular commercial tourism service to space.