On Saturday morning, the crew of Blue Origin’s NS-19 launched just past the boundary of space. This time the New Shepard capsule was full.
Blue Origin‘s third human spaceflight marked another first for the company, the first time the capsule housed an entire crew of six. The previous two missions, NS-16 and NS-18, only held four crew members.
NS-19 crew members:
- Michael Strahan
- Laura Shepard Churchley
- Dylan Taylor
- Evan Dick
- Lane Bess
- Cameron Bess
All six crew members received Blue Origin astronaut pins after their launch. This pin forms the letter “A,” with a chevron making up the sidebars and Blue Origin’s feather logo as the crossbar. Finally, a small blue sapphire is embedded at the top, representing Earth. The six members of NS-19 will join Blue Origin’s previous crews and the crews of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 and Virgin Galactic crews with recognition from the FAA as commercial astronauts.
Blue Origin conducted a relatively smooth countdown for NS-19, showing that the teams are learning and becoming more efficient at crewed launches. Alongside the successful launch and landing of the crew, the New Shepard booster touched down shortly after takeoff. This was the rocket, capsule, and booster’s, fifth flight and it is expected to have several more next year. Known as RSS Next Step, this capsule booster combo is designated to launch all of Blue Origin’s crewed missions while the older RSS H. G. Wells flies the company’s scientific payloads.
The next Blue Origin launch has not been announced, but this is the final one for this year, as well as the final overall crewed spaceflight overall for 2021.