Blue Origin plans to launch the 13th uncrewed flight of its suborbital New Shepard system on Thursday, 24 September 2020. The launch was planned in partnership with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
This will also be the New Shepard rocket’s first test of 2020; the rocket’s previous flight was back in December 2019. Blue Origin will use its New Shepard rocket to simulate a Moon landing.
Blue Origin New Shepard launch
NS-13 mission details
As reported by Space.com, lift-off is scheduled to take place from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site. This will be the 13th flight of Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard rocket and the seventh flight for this vehicle.
“The NS-13 mission will fly 12 commercial payloads, including the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration in partnership with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate under a Tipping Point partnership”.
When is the NS-13 mission launch
A launch slot has been set for 10:00 local time. However, that would be 11:00 Eastern Time, as well as 15:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 17:00 South African Standard Time (SAST) on Thursday 24 September.
If you’re based in India, get ready for a 20:30 IST on Thursday. Japan, set your alarm for 0:00 JST on Friday 25 September 2020, while viewers from China can tune in from 23:00 China Standard Time (CST).
Those in Australia will need to be ready at 1:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) on Friday. New Zealanders, that’s 3:00( NZST) for you.
Watch: Blue Origin New Shephard launch
The stream will go live at 16:30 on Thursday 24 September 2020.
This will also mark the New Shepard rocket’s seventh launch and landing. According to Blue Origin, the rocket will carry 12 payloads, including NASA’s Deorbit, Descent and Landing Sensor Demonstration.
Furthermore, the sensor will be mounted to the vehicle’s exterior and will be used to test landing technologies for NASA’s Artemis program; which is working to put two astronauts on the moon within the next four years.
“The experiment will verify how these technologies (sensors, computers, and algorithms) work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the moon, enabling a vehicle to land autonomously on the lunar surface within 100 meters of a designated point”.
What is Project Artemis?
Back in March 2019, Mike Pence put out a challenge to NASA to shorten the timeline for project Artemis. Artemis planned to perform its first lunar landing 2028. However, Pence called for NASA to move the launch to 2024.
In addition, the call has put those companies tendering to provide the crafts needed to facilitate the mission under acute time pressure. As a result, Jeff Bezos has announced that they will be joining forces with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper.
The companies will pool their resources to attempt to produce a lunar landing system for NASA. The move is somewhat surprising with Lockheed Martin, in particular, being rivals with Blue Origin up to that point.
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