Blue Origin has spent weeks fixing technical problems, and now the space company, founded and funded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is preparing to make history again for its 13th trip to space,media CNET reported. The mission will use the seventh-flying New Shepard rocket to test some key equipment for NASA, which is expected to set a record for rocket recovery.
The mission was scheduled to launch from the company’s base in western Texas at the end of September, but was delayed several times due to weather and technical problems. After weeks of waiting, the company finally set its new target launch time at 6:35 a.m. Pacific time (8:35 a.m. Texas time) on Tuesday.
The NS-13 mission will carry more than a dozen payloads to the edge of space and return, including a demonstration of a lunar landing sensor that will test technology for future lunar missions as part of NASA’s “Althemis Program.” The sensor will be the first payload to be mounted outside the New Shepard rocket rather than in its capsule.
Notably, a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster led by prominent billionaire Elon Musk has been used as many as six times so far. But the Falcon 9 is another type of rocket used for technically more complex orbital missions.
Other payloads on board the New Shepard flight include testing a new system for self-growing aquatic plants that can supplement the crew’s diet and testing NASA’s new cooling system for spacecraft electronics.
From take-off to soft landing, the whole process takes about 12 minutes.