Blue Origin preparing ‘astronaut rehearsal’ launch this Wednesday

Blue Origin announced this weekend that they will attempt to launch their 15th New Shepard flight later this week. This marks the second flight for New Shephard this year following the January flight of Blue’s 4th vehicle, the first built for future crewed flights.

Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin has been nearing completion of their New Shepard rocket tests. This rocket plans to launch up to 6 crew members or suites of experiments on a suborbital flight. So far Blue Origin has launched the New Shepard 14 times, the last being mid-January this year.

The launch back in January was the first of two stable configurations of the New Shephard vehicle. CNBC reported soon after that Blue would attempt a second launch soon after then around April launch their first crew. While the space tourism company didn’t hit that goal, their second launch of this crew-ready rocket will take place this week. The company shared that the window for their next launch from Van Horne, Texas opens this coming Wednesday.

New Shepard’s astronaut rehearsal flight

Monday afternoon, Blue Origin announced the flight will be used as a dress rehearsal for future crewed flights. The rehearsal will use Blue Origin employees as stand-ins for astronauts before liftoff and then after the touchdown of the capsule.

The point of this rehearsal is to certify procedures like strapping in the crew, closing the hatch, and then having the crew exit the capsule. While no crew will actually fly on this mission, Mannequin Skywalker will make another appearance in the capsule to collect more flight data for the teams on the ground. Alongside Skywalker will be 25,000 postcards from Blue Origin’s Club for the Future organization.

Coverage of the launch will begin at 7 AM CDT through Blue Origin’s social pages and YouTube.

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