Blue Origin, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, is getting ready to launch its New Shepard rocket after more than a year. The company mentioned on Tuesday that “We’re targeting a launch window that opens on Dec. 18 for our next New Shepard payload mission,” Blue Origin said in social media posts, shortly after Bloomberg reported the target date.
The upcoming launch, known as NS-24, will be a cargo mission carrying various research and scientific items. This launch is significant because it marks the return to flight for the suborbital rocket. It had been more than 14 months since its last mission due to a midlaunch failure in September 2022 during a cargo mission.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket
The investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into the NS-23 mission, which didn’t go as planned, concluded earlier this year. As a result, the FAA instructed Blue Origin to make changes to enhance the rocket’s structural performance during operation and to implement organizational improvements within the company.
Blue Origin launches its New Shepard rocket from a private facility in West Texas. This rocket carries both people and payloads over 100 kilometers (or more than 340,000 feet), providing a few minutes of weightlessness. The capsule travels autonomously, without a human pilot, and safely lands in the Texas desert with the help of parachutes. Notably, the New Shepard rocket booster is reusable, returning to land on a concrete pad near the launch site.
Up until now, Blue Origin has successfully taken 31 people beyond the edge of space using the New Shepard rocket.
Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, is set to resume its New Shepard rocket missions after a 14-month hiatus. The upcoming NS-24 cargo launch signifies the rocket’s return to flight, following improvements prompted by an FAA investigation. Blue Origin’s reusable rocket has successfully completed 31 spaceflights, marking strides in space exploration.