Watch Blue Origin launch its New Shepard rocket on an uncrewed suborbital flight today

Fresh off its debut crewed spaceflight last month, Blue Origin plans a new launch to suborbital space Thursday (Aug. 26) focusing on science payloads — and you can watch it live here.

The uncrewed mission, called NS-17, will be the 17th flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket-capsule combo. It is scheduled to lift off from the company’s West Texas facility no earlier than 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 GMT). Blue Origin will provide a live broadcast of the mission beginning at approximately 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT), and you can watch it live in the window above, courtesy of Blue Origin. The livestream will be available on Blue Origin’s website.

Onboard the New Shepard spacecraft will be 18 commercial payloads, including 11 NASA-sponsored experiments. There will also be thousands of kid-authored postcards within the spacecraft from Blue Origin’s nonprofit Club for the Future, along with an art installation — Amoako Boafo’s “Suborbital Tryptych.” 

In photos: Blue Origin’s 1st New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
Related: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin sues NASA over denied moon lander contract 

A New Shepard launch conducted in December 2019. (Image credit: Blue Origin)

Data will also be gathered outside the capsule from NASA’s Deorbit, Descent and Landing Sensor Demonstration experiment, a suite of technologies designed to help spacecraft land more accurately on the moon and other cosmic bodies. (Blue Origin flew the sensor suite once before, in October 2020.)

Blue Origin has two New Shepard spacecraft available to use — one for payloads, and one for people. The people-focused spacecraft flew to space July 20 carrying 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk, Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Bezos’ brother Mark, and 18-year-old Dutch student Oliver Daemen.

Virgin Galactic is Blue Origin’s main competitor in suborbital space tourism, flying passengers aboard a space plane (launched from beneath a carrier aircraft) rather than a rocket. Virgin Galactic is selling seats for $450,000 apiece, while Blue Origin hasn’t yet announced what a New Shepard ride costs. Virgin Galactic also had its debut crewed launch last month to suborbital space.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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