Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket Launches a New Line of Business

West Texas is not quite like the moon. But it can serve as a handy stand-in.

On Tuesday, Blue Origin, the rocket company started by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, launched — and landed — its small New Shepard rocket and capsule for the 13th time as part of tests to verify safety before any passengers climb aboard.

One day, this will be New Shepard’s main business: flying well-to-do people above the 62-mile altitude generally considered the beginning of outer space where they will experience a few minutes of weightlessness as the capsule arcs.

Blue Origin is not a new company — Mr. Bezos founded it in 2000 — but for most of its existence, it operated in secret without generating much revenue. Three years ago, Mr. Bezos said he was selling a billion dollars a year in Amazon stock to finance Blue Origin’s research and development.

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Watch Blue Origin launch and land a New Shepard rocket on its seventh trip to space

This morning, Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin is set to conduct another test launch of its New Shepard rocket, a reusable vehicle designed to take paying tourists to the edge of space and back. Just like New Shepard test flights of the past, no people will be on board this trip, but the rocket will be carrying a dozen research payloads to space for NASA.

Today’s test will mark the 13th launch of the New Shepard program and the seventh overall flight for this particular rocket. But it’s been a long time since the New Shepard fleet has seen any action, with the last test flight (featuring the same rocket launching today) taking place back in December 2019. In April, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, the company had hoped to conduct another New Shepard test launch, despite concerns voiced by employees at the time.

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Watch Blue Origin launch its reusable New Shepard rocket live, with a key NASA system test on board

Blue Origin is set to return to active flight today, after a hiatus of nearly a year since its last launch in December 2019. Today’s launch is a mission for the company’s New Shepard reusable sub-orbital rocket – a record-setting sixth flight for this particular rocket, which first flew and landed back in December 2017. Today’s launch includes a system design to test elements of NASA’s Deorbit, Descent and Landing Sensor technology, which will provide key automation for use in future landers for the Moon and Mars that will be able to intelligently identify and avoid potential hazards on target landing zones.

This test will include recover of both the rocket and the capsule for the New Shepard launch vehicle. The Rocket will land back at the West Texas launch and landing site with a controlled, engine-powered descent, and the capsule will descend via parachute. The capsule will contain a

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Blue Origin plans third try to launch New Shepard rocket mission

Blue Origin plans a launch Tuesday morning in West Texas for its New Shepard rocket, like this one that was launched Jan. 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

Blue Origin plans a launch Tuesday morning in West Texas for its New Shepard rocket, like this one that was launched Jan. 23, 2019. Photo courtesy of Blue Origin

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Blue Origin plans to try again Tuesday morning to launch a NASA moon landing experiment aboard the company’s reusable New Shepard rocket from Texas.

Liftoff is scheduled for 9:35 a.m. EDT at the company’s launch facilities about 150 miles east of El Paso. The company postponed the launch twice before — once due to cloudy weather and again

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Blue Origin attempts New Shepard rocket launch again in Texas

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 2016, from West Texas on Friday morning. 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

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Blue Origin will launch its next New Shepard suborbital test flight Thursday

Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard spacecraft will take to the skies this week for the first time in nine months. 

New Shepard, which is designed to ferry people and payloads to suborbital space and back, will launch on an uncrewed test flight Thursday (Sept. 24) at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) from Blue Origin’s Texas location, company representatives announced today (Sept. 22).

You can watch the flight, which is called NS-13, live here at Space.com, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company, which is run by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

Related: Blue Origin’s amazing NS-11 New Shepard test flight in photos

The suborbital flight will be the seventh for this particular vehicle and the 13th for Blue Origin’s New Shepard program overall. Thursday’s liftoff will also be the first launch for the company since December 2019, when this same New Shepard vehicle launched on its

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