Blue Origin aims to conduct its fifth human spaceflight this weekend.
NS-21, the next mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle, is now targeted for Saturday (June 4), company representatives announced today (May 31). NS-21 is scheduled to launch from Blue Origin’s West Texas site on Saturday during a window that opens at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT); you can watch it live here at Space.com when the time comes.
NS-21 was originally supposed to launch on May 20, but Blue Origin delayed things after discovering a potential issue with one of New Shepard’s backup systems. The company has not disclosed what exactly that issue was.
When to watch and what to know: Blue Origin’s NS-21 mission
New Shepard is a reusable rocket-capsule combo that sends people and payloads on brief trips to suborbital space. During each roughly 11-minute mission, passengers get to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curve of Earth against the blackness of space.
Six people will go up on NS-21, including science communicator Katya Echazarreta, who will become the first Mexican-born woman to reach space, and Evan Dick, who will be the first-ever repeat New Shepard crewmember. (Dick, an engineer and investor, also flew on the NS-19 mission, which launched last December.)
You can read more about the mission and its crewmembers in our NS-21 guide.
As its name suggests, NS-21 will be the 21st spaceflight for New Shepard overall. But it will be just the fifth crewed mission for the system, following flights in July, October and December of 2021 and March 31 of this year.
Blue Origin, which is run by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has not revealed how much it charges for a seat aboard New Shepard. Its main competitor in the suborbital space tourism business, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, currently sells seats aboard its VSS Unity space plane for $450,000 apiece.
VSS Unity is not fully up and running yet, however; Virgin Galactic aims to begin commercial passenger flights in early 2023.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out There (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).