Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, announced on Tuesday that it is getting ready to launch its New Shepard rocket for the first time in more than a year.
Shortly after Bloomberg revealed the planned date, Blue Origin stated on social media, “We’re targeting a launch window that opens on Dec. 18 for our next New Shepard payload mission.”
The NS-24 launch of New Shepard is planned to be a cargo mission, delivering scientific and research payloads. Following a more than 14-month break due to a midlaunch failure during a cargo mission in September 2022, the mission will signal the suborbital rocket’s return to flight.
Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration concluded its probe into the unsuccessful NS-23 mission. Blue Origin was mandated by the agency to implement corrective measures at the company “to improve structural performance during operation as well as organizational changes.”
Launched from Blue Origin’s exclusive facility in West Texas, the New Shepard rocket can take passengers and cargo over 100 kilometres, or more than 340,000 feet, and achieve a brief weightless period of two minutes. The capsule lands in the Texas desert by floating down with the help of a set of parachutes after being piloted autonomously without the need for a human pilot. Reusable, the New Shepard rocket booster lands back on a concrete pad close to the launch location.
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