Blue Origin will launch its first rocket of 2018 tomorrow


On Sunday, private space company Blue Origin will launch its third New Shepard rocket, according to founder Jeff Bezos. The launch is scheduled to take place at 9:30AM EDT / 8:30AM CDT, and will be live streamed.

This will be the eighth overall flight for the New Shepard, and the second flight for this particular vehicle. The first launched on April 29th, 2015 (three years ago tomorrow), but crashed. Blue Origin then successfully launched and landed its second New Shepard in November that year, and proceeded to reuse the booster for four additional launches through October 2016 before retiring it. The company launched and recovered its third rocket in its only launch of 2017 in December, and that’s the vehicle that’s being launched tomorrow.

Launch preparations are underway for New Shepard’s 8th test flight, as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight. Currently targeting Sunday 4/29 with launch window opening up at 830am CDT. Livestream info to come.

— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 27, 2018

The New Shepherd rocket will eventually bring passengers into space, taking them on an 11-minute flight in a capsule that will land with the help of parachutes, while the booster comes back down with a powered landing. Blue Origin has ambitions beyondbeyondbeyondbeyond just taking space tourists to orbit: it showed off its plans for its New Glenn rocket last year, ferrying cargo into orbit after it launches sometime in 2020 for the first time.

Blue Origin intends to conduct its first crewed flights for the New Shepard sometime later this year, and CEO Bob Smith said last year that his company was planning on sending its first passengers into space by 2019.

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