Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to launch its New Shepard rocket, like the one shown here in 2016, from West Texas on Friday morning. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to launch its New Shepard rocket, like the one shown here in 2015, from West Texas on Friday morning. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will be launched again on Friday with its reusable booster, which is shown landing after a flight in December. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin
Sept. 25 (UPI) — Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, will try again to launch its reusable New Shepard rocket on Friday in Texas with NASA and university experiments on board.
Liftoff is planned for 11 a.m. EDT at the company’s launch facilities about 150 miles east of El Paso. Launch personnel postponed an attempt Thursday due to a “potential issue with the power supply to the experiments,” Blue Origin said.
The launch would be the 13th New Shepard mission and the seventh consecutive flight for the rocket, which is 60 feet high and emits 110,000 pounds of thrust. The company one day wants to fly space tourists in a capsule designed for six people as it also develops its larger New Glenn rocket.
The NASA experiment on the rocket, called the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration. includes sensors designed to help locate a safe site on the moon for upcoming landings, according to NASA and Blue Origin’s mission description.
“The technologies could allow future missions — both crewed and robotic — to target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missions, such as regions with varied terrain near craters,” the mission description said.
Those sensors require clear skies to function properly, Blue Origin said Thursday. The National Weather Center predicts mostly clear skies after some morning clouds in the area Friday.
Blue Origin leads the so-called national team in developing a human lander for future moon missions. The team includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper.
The sensors are the first payload to fly mounted on the exterior of a New Shepard booster rather than inside its capsule, which the company said could open up opportunities for other exterior technology, including “a wide range of future high-altitude sensing, sampling and exposure payloads.”
At least two plant experiments are in the rocket’s capsule, one of which was designed by researchers at the University of Florida’s Ferl/Paul Space Plants Lab.
Other payloads on board the so-called NS-13 mission include experiments from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California and Colorado-based Space Lab Technologies.