Space tourism company Blue Origin has set its sights on a New Shepard launch window that starts tomorrow at 9:30AM ET, its first attempt since the rocket booster failed during its September 2022 launch. The company says its New Shepard rocket will launch from its Launch Site One in West Texas. Blue Origin will livestream the launch on its website 20 minutes before the countdown.
This will be the 24th launch of the reusable New Shepard rocket, and will carry 33 science payloads. Most of its launches have been uncrewed, but as Engadget noted, six of them have had human beings on board, including William Shatner. Last year, Blue Origin’s uncrewed NS-23 launch failed, prompting a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation.
The FAA said in its September report that the “proximate cause” of the failure was an engine nozzle that succumbed to “higher than expected engine operating temperatures,” but that debris from the mishap was entirely contained in the “designated hazard area.” The agency gave the company 21 corrective actions to keep the same failure from happening again, “including redesign of engine and nozzle components” and organizational changes.
The rocket will also be carrying 38,000 postcards sent by students participating in Blue Origin’s Club for the Future program promoting STEM education. Club for the Future accepts physical postcards for New Shepard missions, but the club also sends along a hard drive filled with digital submissions.