Live Blog: Blue Origin launching second crew of four to space on New Shepard

Blue Origin is preparing to launch NS-18 from their West Texas facility with a crew of four on Wednesday. NS-18 will be the company’s second crewed flight, with the most notable member being William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk from Star Trek. The launch will be a short hop above 100 km to give the crew about 4 minutes of weightlessness. Check below for updates on the launch of NS-18.

Date: Wednesday, October 13 at 10:50 a.m. EDT

Rocket: Blue Origin New Shepard

Crew:

  • Dr. Chris Boshuizen
  • Glen de Vries
  • William Shatner
  • Audrey Powers

Launch Pad: Launch Site One, Van Horne, Texas

Landing Site: The New Shepard booster will propulsively land at a pad nearby, and the capsule will land under the power of parachutes in the field surrounding the launch site.

About Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket

Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a single-stage suborbital rocket used for carrying experiments and customers up above 100 km to experience the joy of weightlessness. From launch to landing, the total flight lasts about 10 minutes, and both the booster and capsule are fully reusable. Tickets for flights have still yet to be announced, but they are rumored to be well into the high six-digit range.

The New Shepard booster landing on its landing zone. Credit: Blue Origin

Launch weather

Blue Origin does not release details on the current weather for their launches, but the launch has already been pushed back one day for wind speeds, so that is something to watch out for on Wednesday.

NS-18 launch updates

Wednesday, October 13, 11:26 a.m. EDT: That will conclude the live coverage of today’s launch.

Wednesday, October 13, 11:23 a.m. EDT: Jeff Bezos is now pinning the crew with Blue Origin’s version of astronaut wings.

Wednesday, October 13, 11:20 a.m. EDT: The launch coverage has stayed on a conversation with Jeff Bezos and William Shatner where he said: “What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened.”

He also mentioned that

Wednesday, October 13, 11:11 a.m. EDT: With all the recovery crew and friends and family now at the scene, they have opened the hatch for the crew to come out.

Wednesday, October 13, 11:04 a.m. EDT: Recovery crews have begun arriving at the capsule.

Wednesday, October 13, 11:00 a.m. EDT: The crew capsule has touched down.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:59 a.m. EDT: Drogue parachutes and now main parachutes have been deployed on the capsule.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:57 a.m. EDT: NS-18’s booster has successfully landed.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:56 a.m. EDT: The New Shepard booster is preparing for landing.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:55 a.m. EDT: The crew have reached apogee and are now preparing to get back in their seats for reentry.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:53 a.m. EDT: NS-18 has crossed 100 km.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:52 a.m. EDT: New Shepard’s BE-3 has shut down and the crew capsule separated.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:50 a.m. EDT: Liftoff off of NS-18 the its crew.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:48 a.m. EDT: The access granary has retracted from the rocket. Giving the needed clearance for the rocket to launch.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:45 a.m. EDT: T-5 minutes until launch.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:41 a.m. EDT: The launch director has given the GO for launch.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:35 a.m. EDT: The checkout crews have left the launch pad and the hold is now cleared.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:27 a.m. EDT: We are now 10 minutes into the second hold of the countdown, again no details as to why we are holding. Crews are still at the top of the access tower.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:20 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin CapCom is currently reading messages from the NS-16 crew to the NS-18 crew.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:16 a.m. EDT: The countdown has entered another hold as they do final checks on the capsule.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:15 a.m. EDT: Jeff Bezos just gave the crew a final goodbye and closed the hatch.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:13 a.m. EDT: CapCom, capsule communicator, just did a comms check with each of the crew members.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:06 a.m. EDT: And finally Audrey Powers is now in the capsule, Crew Member 7, the Blue Origin member that does the final safety checks, will checking each member’s harnesses.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:05 a.m. EDT: Captain Kirk, William Shatner, is now entering the capsule.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:04 a.m. EDT: Glen de Vries will be the first crew member to enter the capsule then Chris Boshuizen.

Wednesday, October 13, 10:03 a.m. EDT: The crew is now walking across the catwalk to the rocket access tower, this is will they will enter the capsule.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:59 a.m. EDT: The crew for NS-18 has now begun climbing the crew access tower.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:55 a.m. EDT: The crew will now get back in their trucks and drive around to the crew access tower.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:54 a.m. EDT: The crew has stepped out briefly for a photo in front of the rocket.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:51 a.m. EDT: The crew are nearing the launch pad.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:47 a.m. EDT: The crew has left the training facility and are on their way to the launch pad.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:45 a.m. EDT: After about 30 minutes the hold has been lifted, currently the launch time looks to be around 10:30 a.m. EDT.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:39 a.m. EDT: Now over 23 minutes into the hold, we are unsure what sort of window Blue Origin has for today’s launch. The flight restrictions do not end until October 16, with no details for daily times like we have seen for other launches.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:33 a.m. EDT: We are going now on 17 minutes into this hold, the host has stated “rocket readiness” but no further details were given for the hold.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:24 a.m. EDT: (Still in a hold) They are showing scenes of the Astronaut Village there at Blue’s facility. This was an unknown part of the complex until this last weekend when crew members began sharing photos when they arrived.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:19 a.m. EDT: The crew has entered their Rivian trucks to be transported to the launch pad, although we are currently in a hold. Their driver is Jeff Bezos, also in a flight suit.

Wednesday, October 13, 9:09 a.m. EDT: Astronaut 7, the Blue Origin employee helping the crew get ready for flight, has awarded the crew with coins commemorating today’s launch.

Wednesday, October 13, 8:57 a.m. EDT: The hosts have mentioned that Jeff Bezos will help escort the crew to the rocket this morning.

Wednesday, October 13, 8:39 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin’s hosts are currently pushing how safe their rocket is. This is presumably due to the report this past week by former and current employees stating concerns for the company’s safety.

Wednesday, October 13, 8:30 a.m. EDT: Live coverage by Blue Origin has begun.

Wednesday, October 13, 8:08 a.m. EDT: Blue Origin’s live coverage will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT meaning T-0 has been moved to 10:00 a.m. EDT.

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