Blue Origin targeting May 19 for 1st crewed spaceflight since 2022

Blue Origin’s human-spaceflight drought will end this weekend, if all goes according to plan.

Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company announced today (May 14) that it’s targeting Sunday (May 19) for its latest suborbital space tourism effort. The mission, known as NS-25, will lift off from Blue Origin’s West Texas site during a window that opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT; 8:30 a.m. local time in West Texas).

Blue Origin will livestream the launch. Coverage will begin at 8:50 a.m. EDT (1250 GMT).

Related: Facts about New Shepard, Blue Origin’s rocket for space tourism

headshots of five smiling men and one smiling woman

headshots of five smiling men and one smiling woman

Blue Origin’s suborbital flights employ the company’s New Shepard vehicle, which consists of a rocket and a capsule. Both of these elements are reusable; the rocket lands vertically not long after liftoff, while the crew-carrying capsule touches down under parachutes.

Passengers aboard the capsule experience a few minutes of weightlessness and get to see Earth against the blackness of space. It’s a whirlwind affair; the entire flight, from launch to capsule touchdown, lasts about 11 minutes.

As its name suggests, NS-25 will be the 25th New Shepard liftoff to date. But it will be just the seventh crewed launch for the vehicle, which also conducts robotic research missions.

The most recent crewed Blue Origin flight, NS-22, took place in August 2022. A month later, New Shepard suffered an anomaly during a research mission, resulting in the destruction of the rocket; the capsule parachuted safely down to Earth.

Blue Origin grounded New Shepard while it investigated the anomaly — which it traced to a “thermo-structural failure” of the nozzle on the rocket’s single BE-3PM engine — and devised a fix. The suborbital vehicle returned to flight in December 2023 with the uncrewed NS-24 mission.


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Blue Origin announced the crew for the upcoming NS-25 mission last month. The six passengers are Ed Dwight, the U.S.’s first-ever black astronaut candidate; venture capitalist Mason Angel; Sylvain Chiron, the founder of French craft brewery Brasserie Mont Blanc; entrepreneur Kenneth L. Hess; retired accountant Carol Schaller; and pilot and aviator Gopi Thotakura. You can read more about each of them here.

Another suborbital tourism mission will launch a few weeks after NS-25, if all goes according to plan. Blue Origin’s main competitor in this space, Virgin Galactic, is targeting June 8 for its four-passenger Galactic 07 flight.

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