Blue Origin’s space crew waits for the weather

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Trainer Sarah Knights and future space pilots look at the New Shepard crew capsule. (Blue origin via Instagram)

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon blue origin Space Venture has postponed its next crewed suborbital space mission to Thursday, due to concerns about the weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In a mission update, Blue Origin said “high winds expected during launch and recovery” forced liftoff from the company’s West Texas Launch Site One to be postponed. The National Weather Service said winds could reach sustained levels of 35-45 mph Tuesday, with gusts up to 60 mph.

Six space wheels – including the first married couple go to space together in 30 years – have signed on for Blue Origin’s fourth crewed suborbital flight.

“The team has completed the flight readiness review and confirmed that the vehicle has met all mission requirements for flight,” Blue Origin said. “The astronauts are finishing their training and the weather is still the only trigger.”

If all goes according to plan, Blue Origin will begin streaming video coverage of the countdown and launch it at 7:20 a.m. CT (5:20 a.m. PT) on Thursday. Launch updates will be delivered via Blue Origin’s Twitter account.

In an interview broadcast on “CBS News Mornings”, the founder of SpaceKids Global Sharon Hagle said that she and her husband, the CEO of Tricor International Marc Haglewere “really excited to be here”.

“We want to inspire kids about STEAM+ education, especially young girls, because they are the next generation of space travelers,” she said. One of the activities she and her crew members undertook was fill in postcards to take aboard their New Shepard spacecraft for the club for the futureBlue Origin’s non-profit educational group.

‘Saturday Night Live’ comedian Pete Davidson was originally scheduled to take this week’s flight, but he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced on the crew by New Shepard chief architect Gary Lay.

Lai told CBS he had long dreamed of flying on the spacecraft he helped design.

“Hundreds of people – dedicated, brilliant people – have worked on this program, and I’m honored to be the one chosen to do it,” Lai said. “But I hope they all get that opportunity one day.”

The other crew members are George Nield, a former Federal Aviation Administration official who was involved in regulating commercial spaceflight; Jim Kitchen, teacher and entrepreneur from North Carolina; and Marty Allen, an angel investor and former CEO of Party America.

Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard craft is designed to carry the sextet beyond 100 kilometers (62 miles) in altitude for a few minutes of weightlessness and a bird’s eye view of the Earth below.

Bezos took part in the first crewed mission last July. Star Trek captain William Shatner was part of the crew for the second flight in October, and Laura Shepard Churchley – the eldest daughter of pioneering NASA astronaut Alan Shepard – was the headliner of the crew of the third flight last December. This is Blue Origin’s first flight of 2022, and the company says it plans to pick up the pace in the coming months.

The budget looks to the future of NASA

The New Shepard suborbital space effort is just one of Blue Origin’s projects. The company is also leading the Orbital Reef Consortium in a campaign to design a commercial space station for Earth orbit and is battling to build a lunar lander for use in NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

These two programs were discussed today in the Biden administration budget proposal for fiscal year 2023. The $25.973 billion wanted for NASA includes $224 million for the development of commercial space stations and $1.486 billion for human landing systems.

Jim Free, NASA’s associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development, said the $1.486 billion would support work on SpaceX’s Starship lunar variant as well as a second commercial lunar lander, which may or may not happen. prove to be the one offered by Blue Origin and its industry partners.

Free declined to say how much would be set aside for the second commercial team, on the grounds that providing a figure would tilt NASA’s hand too much during the procurement process.

The first moon landing of the Artemis program is currently scheduled for 2025, using SpaceX’s Starship. NASA expects the second crewed mission to the lunar surface to take place during the period 2027-2028.

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