The latest Blue Origin launch took place this morning at approximately 9:35 AM (EDT) with a live broadcast that is now available to watch in replay mode. This launch was made into suborbital space as the 17th flight of the Blue Origin New Shepard craft. Onboard were 11 NASA-sponsored experiments included in a total of 18 commercial payloads.
This is the second flight for an experiment launched under a Tipping Point partnership with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. This experiment’s aim was to increase confidence in successful missions headed to our moon by testing a suite of lunar landing tech flying mounted to the exterior of the craft’s booster.
Data captured during the first of these experiments can be found on NASA’s public data site. The experiment series is aimed at allowing future missions to “target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missions.” The first of these missions “informed a series of critical improvements to further the capabilities” of both the Descent Landing Computer and the Navigation Doppler Lidar.
This is the 17th New Shepard mission to date. This is the 8th flight for the vehicle included with this mission, and the 4th New Shepard mission in the year 2021 alone. This flight included postcards made with the Blue Origin Club for the Future, and included artwork from Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. This artwork is included via the Uplift Aerospace program.
This mission includes the Modal Propellant Guaging Experiment, created by the Carthage College Space Sciences program and the NASA Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers. From the NASA Kennedy Space Center, this mission includes The Orbital Syngas / Commodity Augmentation Reactor (OSCAR), a reflight of a full stack experiment flown on NS-12.
From the Southwest Research Institute, this mission included the Liquid Acquisition Device (LAD-3), demonstrating how liquid/vapor interfaces behave in microgravity. The University of Florida included their FLEX fluorescence imaging system experiment, re: Biological Imaging in Support of Suborbital Science. Take a peek at the videos above to see more information about what’s onboard the mission this week – and to see the craft take off!