Blue Origin’s 24th mission is officially a success. The New Shepard rocket took off as planned this morning and the booster and crew capsule safely separated mid-flight and landed back on this great blue marble we call Earth.
This was an uncrewed mission, but it carried 33 science payloads into low orbit, more than half of them from NASA. The launch allowed for a few minutes of zero gravity in which researchers conducted remote studies on these payloads. For instance, a payload from Honeybee Robotics studied the strength of planetary soils under differing gravity conditions. The manifest also included 38,000 student postcards from the Club for the Future initiative.

To those following this mission, the original launch was scrapped on Monday due to a ground system issue that was, obviously, handled. There were no issues reported regarding today’s flight, though there was a slight holdup of a few minutes added to the countdown.
This mission was basically a do-over of a flight from last year that ended prematurely due to a malfunction of the New Shepard booster’s hydrogen-based rocket engine. This anomaly led to the suspension of Blue Origin launches until an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was completed.
The FAA’s investigation ended in September, freeing up Blue Origin for more launches once it handled a suite of corrective actions mandated by the agency. This included a redesign of the booster’s engine and nozzle as well as some procedural changes. The company hasn’t announced any official plans for future crewed flights, but recently installed an elevator at the launch tower. This is to make future launches “more accessible to people with disabilities, and more people in general,” launch commentator Erika Wagner said during today’s livestream.
To that end, Blue Origin has begun ramping up promotions to attract customers for crewed flights. You can also apply to add a payload to a future launch.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/blue-origin-returns-to-form-with-a-successful-rocket-launch-after-being-grounded-for-over-a-year-193948312.html?src=rss

Blue Origin’s 24th mission is officially a success. The New Shepard rocket took off as planned this morning and the booster and crew capsule safely separated mid-flight and landed back on this great blue marble we call Earth.

This was an uncrewed mission, but it carried 33 science payloads into low orbit, more than half of them from NASA. The launch allowed for a few minutes of zero gravity in which researchers conducted remote studies on these payloads. For instance, a payload from Honeybee Robotics studied the strength of planetary soils under differing gravity conditions. The manifest also included 38,000 student postcards from the Club for the Future initiative.

To those following this mission, the original launch was scrapped on Monday due to a ground system issue that was, obviously, handled. There were no issues reported regarding today’s flight, though there was a slight holdup of a few minutes added to the countdown.

This mission was basically a do-over of a flight from last year that ended prematurely due to a malfunction of the New Shepard booster’s hydrogen-based rocket engine. This anomaly led to the suspension of Blue Origin launches until an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was completed.

The FAA’s investigation ended in September, freeing up Blue Origin for more launches once it handled a suite of corrective actions mandated by the agency. This included a redesign of the booster’s engine and nozzle as well as some procedural changes. The company hasn’t announced any official plans for future crewed flights, but recently installed an elevator at the launch tower. This is to make future launches “more accessible to people with disabilities, and more people in general,” launch commentator Erika Wagner said during today’s livestream.

To that end, Blue Origin has begun ramping up promotions to attract customers for crewed flights. You can also apply to add a payload to a future launch.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/blue-origin-returns-to-form-with-a-successful-rocket-launch-after-being-grounded-for-over-a-year-193948312.html?src=rss …Read More

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