Live Blog: Blue Origin’s first crewed New Shepard flight

Blue Origin crew capsule

This morning Blue Origin is planning their first crewed flight of their suborbital New Shepard rocket. The crew will be Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, legendary aviator Wally Funk, and early ticket holder Oliver Daemen.

What is Blue Origin accomplishing?

This flight will validate Blue Origin’s ability to launch a crew on their rocket and begin operations as a space tourism company. While plenty of New Shepards have launched in the past (15 to be exact) this will be the first with human lives on board. The life of a human in the hands of the launch control team brings a very different atmosphere and new challenges from uncrewed flights.

How does the New Shepard get to space?

While the New Shepard is only a suborbital rocket, it still is an amazing piece of technology. The rocket’s main engine, a BE-3 burning liquid oxygen and hydrogen, fires for just shy of 2 minutes before releasing the capsule. This will give the capsule enough energy to reach 100 km and give the crew about 3 minutes of weightlessness. Then the capsule, under the power of parachutes, touches down in the Texas desert with the crew on board.

New Shepard launch 16 Live Blog

Tuesday, July 20, 9:45 a.m. EDT: Concluding today’s live coverage of Blue Origin’s first crewed flight.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:43 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin is winding down their live stream with a recap of the flight today. On the 52nd anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic Moon landing, we have not 1 but 2 ways for citizens to fly to space on their own. By the end of this year, that number will increase to three as SpaceX flies their first private orbital mission to space in just a few months.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:40 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin saying they are now open for ticket sales, no price only saying you have to reach out to Safe to assume if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:34 a.m. EDT: The crew broke out some champagne bottles to celebrate the flight. (Well… those that are over 21.)

Tuesday, July 20, 9:31 a.m. EDT: The crew has exited the capsule to their waiting family.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:26 a.m. EDT: The recovery team is approaching the capsule.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:22 a.m. EDT: Touchdown of the capsule after its short flight to space.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:21 a.m. EDT: Main parachutes have now deployed.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:20 a.m. EDT: Drogue chutes have deployed on the capsule.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:20 a.m. EDT: And successful landing of the New Shepard booster.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:19 a.m. EDT: Landing burn started.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:19 a.m. EDT: The New Shepard booster is about to begin its landing.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:17 a.m. EDT: The New Shepard capsule has reached apogee and the crew was given the 1-minute warning to return to their seats.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:16 a.m. EDT: Separation of the capsule, the crew can now move freely. Welcome NS-16 to space!

Tuesday, July 20, 9:14 a.m. EDT: MECO of the BE-3 engine.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:13 a.m. EDT: MAX-Q callout, the moment of highest stress on the rocket.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:12 a.m. EDT: Liftoff of NS-16 carrying the oldest and youngest people to space.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:10 a.m. EDT: T-2 minutes and the bridge to the capsule has retracted.

Tuesday, July 20, 9:07 a.m. EDT: We are 5 minutes away from the launch of NS-16

Tuesday, July 20, 8:57 a.m. EDT: The countdown has resumed. T-15 min and counting.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:55 a.m. EDT: Astronaut 7 is leaving the pad after readying the tower for launch.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:50 a.m. EDT: We are at T-15 minutes and holding until launch of NS-16.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:44 a.m. EDT: Astronaut 7 is closing the hatch on New Shepard.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:40 a.m. EDT: Wally Funk is in her seat and placed a postcard on the window for her to take a photo of when they are in space.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:34 a.m. EDT: Astronaut 7, the team that will help the crew into their seats, will begin helping the crew into the capsule.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:33 a.m. EDT: The crew is leaving the shelter and crossing the bridge to begin loading. Each ringing a ship bell before they start the trek.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:32 a.m. EDT: The crew is currently waiting in the Astronaut Shelter, which is designed to keep the astronauts safe in case of an anomaly. We are about 2 minutes away from crew loading.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:28 a.m. EDT: The crew has reached the top of the first tower. There is a catwalk they have to cross to the second tower before entering the capsule.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:26 a.m. EDT: The vehicle drove to the other side of the rocket closer to the access tower. No elevator like at Kennedy Space Center, looks like 3 stories of stairs to climb.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:25 a.m. EDT: The crew is getting back in the vehicle after a photo opportunity in front of the rocket. Guess I spoke too soon.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:24 a.m. EDT: The crew is now exiting the vehicle and walking to access tower.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:23 a.m. EDT: The crew has arrived at the launch complex.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:21 a.m. EDT: The countdown has resumed.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:19 a.m. EDT: The crew has departed for the launch site.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:17 a.m. EDT: The crew has left the training center and is entering their Rivian truck to go to the launch site. The launch count is still holding at T-45 min.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:15 a.m. EDT: The count is currently holding at T-45 min.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:15 a.m. EDT: We are at T-45 minutes from launch of NS-16 and the crew should be on their way to the launch complex in Rivian electric trucks, a company also owned by Jeff Bezos.

Tuesday, July 20, 8:00 a.m. EDT: We are at T-1 hour from NS-16 launch. The crew will head to the tower in 15 minutes and in 30 minutes the crew will enter the vehicle.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:59 a.m. EDT: The sun has begun to rise in Van Horne, Texas. While it is in the central time zone, it’s on the far west side of it making for some later than normal sunrises.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:55 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin is currently talking about the $28 million dollar auction winner. You can read a breakdown of where that money went here.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:42 a.m. EDT: Ariane Cornell, Blue Origin’s Sales Director for New Glenn and the host of today’s livestream, announced she will be flying on the next crewed flight of New Shepard.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:37 a.m. EDT: Blue is showing a video of the crew’s training last night. While none of the crew will be flying the rocket, they need to learn what to do during the flight to stay safe.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:36 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin has announced seat assignments for the crew, Jeff Bezos will be in seat 6, Mark Bezos (callsign DEMO) will be in seat 4, Funk will be in seat 3, and Daemen will be in seat 1.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:30 a.m. EDT: Right on time, Blue Origin has begun their livestream, marking T-1 hour and 30 minutes till launch.

Tuesday, July 20, 7:25 a.m. EDT: We are only 5 minutes away from the start of Blue Origin’s live coverage of NS-16. The New Shepard rocket was moved out to the launch early this morning and preparations are underway for launch.

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