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Blue Origin prepares for fourth suborbital flight today – Spaceflight Now

Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital launcher will lift up to six vehicles, including the rocket’s main launcher, in an up -and -down flight at the edge of the sky Thursday.

The commercial center is expected to launch a single New Shepard rocket from West Texas shortly after 9:10 am EDT (1310 GMT; 8:10 am CDT).

The mission takes less than 10 minutes from departure until the Blue Origin team’s box is hit, where it returns to the company’s sprawling test facility to land at Two miles from the starting course.

The 60-foot-high (18-meter) New Shepard rocket can be used to launch six vehicles at an altitude of over 62 miles (100 kilometers), the limit determined by the the world.

The flight, designated NS-20, is the fourth Blue Origin release to pull astronauts into suborbital space, and the 20th flight of the New Shepard rocket since 2015, with test aircraft to test the system before taking people.

The passengers on the NS-20 mission were George Nield, a longtime supporter of the flight, and Gary Lai, a Blue Origin engineer and chief designer of the New Shepard space travel program.

Nield is the former head of the Federal Aviation Administration, the regulatory and licensing body for aviation operations in the United States. Prior to his time with the FAA, Nield worked for Orbital Sciences Corp., served as a flight test engineer at the Air Force Flight Test Center, and was the director of the aircraft assembly for the project. NASA.

“I’ve loved the air since I was a kid,” Nield said in a pre -flight interview tweeted by Blue Origin. “I cut articles in the newspaper about the camps and the Mercury astronauts.”

Lai will be the third member of the Blue Origin team to fly on the New Shepard rocket. The group’s first public tour last July, Blue Origin’s billionaire Jeff Bezos took with three cars, and the second human flight in October was Audrey Powers, vice president of the New Shepard mission and flying activities, with actor William Shatner and two. other colleagues.

The third New Shepard human flight Dec. The first 11 was released with a team of six, including former NFL player and TV host Michael Strahan and Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of the late NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, the U.S. first flew into the air.

The NS-20 team, from left to right: Gary Lai, George Nield, Jim Kitchen, Marty Allen, Sharon Hagle, and Marc Hagle. Available: Blue Origin

“Looking out the window and seeing the dark sky and the curvature of the Earth is going to be special,” Nield said. “Being able to fly with this team, which is Gary Lai, is the key to making New Shepard, it’s very special to me.”

In an interview with Blue Origin, Lai said he has worked on the New Shepard project “from the beginning.” He was one of the first 20 Blue Origin employees, who joined the company in 2004.

“I got involved in every kind of design and construction of cars,” Lai said.

“It’s a once in a lifetime, a once in a career, a time to follow a project from start to a big goal,” Lai said. “So I think I think it’s like a lot of time and effort that we put into it.”

Lai replaced comedian Pete Davidson, who had previously featured Blue Origin as a car on the NS-20 mission. Blue Origin said “the Saturday Night Live member will no longer be able to meet the missionary” after the March 23 release.

Marty Allen, a member of the NS-20 team, is a CEO and angel producer from California. Jim Kitchen is a teacher and businessman from North Carolina who has visited all of the UN -recognized countries.

Sharon and Marc Hagle, a Florida man, surround the NS-20 team.

Sharon Hagle is the founder of SpaceKids Global, a nonprofit that aims to inspire kids to excel in science, technology, engineering, engineering, and math. Her husband, Marc, is the president and CEO of Tricor International.

This photo shows the flight information for the release and landing of New Shepard. Available: Blue Origin

The capsule flying on the NS-20 mission is called “RSS First Step,” with RSS standing for Reusable Spaceship. Tail No. stone. 4 in the fleet of Blue Origin.

Powered by a hydrogen-powered BE-3 engine, the New Shepard booster soars through the air to an apogee, or altitude, more than 328,000 feet, higher than before the limit seen on earth.

The BE-3 engine will fire in less than two minutes, then the rocket will detach from the cruise ship before reaching their apogee height and beginning their descent to Earth.

The training ground will place the tow trucks, re-raise the BE-3 engine, and extend a landing stage before hitting down a landing stage to the north of the starting station. The capsule, meanwhile, will unlock three large parachutes and fire -retaining rocks to secure the landing on the desert floor at Blue Origin’s far West Texas test camp.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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