Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will launch six people to suborbital space and back on Thursday morning (Aug. 4), and you can watch the action live.
A New Shepard suborbital vehicle is scheduled to lift off from Blue Origin’s West Texas site Thursday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) on the company’s sixth human spaceflight. You can watch live here at Space.com, courtesy of Blue Origin, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). Coverage will begin 30 minutes before launch.
The mission — known as NS-22 because it’s the 22nd overall New Shepard flight, crewed or uncrewed — will carry six people, including Coby Cotton, one of the founders of the popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect.
In photos: Blue Origin’s 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
Also onboard are Mário Ferreira and Sara Sabry, who will become the first people from Portugal and Egypt, respectively, to reach the final frontier. You can read more about all the passengers in our NS-22 crewmembers story.
New Shepard is an automated, reusable rocket-capsule combo designed to take people and research payloads on brief trips to suborbital space. The rocket comes back to Earth for a powered landing like the first stages of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital rockets do, and the crew capsule lands softly under parachutes.
New Shepard missions last just 11 minutes or so from start to finish. Passengers get to see the curve of Earth against the blackness of space and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Blue Origin has not revealed how much it charges for this experience. For comparison, Virgin Galactic, the company’s chief competitor in the suborbital space tourism field, sells seats aboard its VSS Unity space plane for $450,000.
The piloted VSS Unity has reached suborbital space four times to date but is not yet fully operational. New Shepard is fully up and running; NS-22 will be its third commercial passenger flight of the year.
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).