Blue Origin announced today its seventh human flight, NS-25, will lift off from Launch Site One in West Texas on Sunday, May 19. The launch window opens at 8:30 AM CDT / 1330 UTC. The webcast on BlueOrigin.com will start at T-40 minutes. This mission will be the seventh human flight for the New Shepard program and the 25th in its history. To date, the program has flown 31 humans above the Kármán line.

NS-25 patch

Additionally, Blue Origin released the NS-25 mission patch. A few of the symbols embedded include: The Gemini spacecraft represents Ed Dwight’s aerospace training era. The hand lifting the crew capsule is a nod to his extensive artwork. The sunrise represents Mason Angel and Carol Schaller’s desire to experience the overview effect. The mountains symbolize Carol Schaller, Gopi Thotakura, and Sylvain Chiron’s passion for climbing and skiing. The crew capsule’s leaf design reflects the groundbreaking family heritage software Kenneth L. Hess developed. Meet the crew:

Ed Dwight

In 1961, Ed was chosen by President John F. Kennedy to enter training at the Aerospace Research Pilot School (ARPS), an elite U.S. Air Force flight training program known as a pathway for entering the NASA Astronaut Corps. In 1963, after successfully completing the ARPS program, Ed was recommended by the U.S. Air Force for the NASA Astronaut Corps but ultimately was not among those selected. He entered private life in 1966 and spent a decade as an entrepreneur before dedicating his life’s work to using sculpture as a medium to tell the story of Black history. He’s spent the last five decades creating large-scale monuments of iconic Black figures, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, among many others. His more than 130 public works are installed in museums and public spaces across the U.S. and Canada. Ed was born in 1933 and raised in Kansas City, KS. Ed’s seat is sponsored by Space for Humanity, a nonprofit changing global perspectives by democratizing access to space for all of humanity, with additional support from the Jaison and Jamie Robinson Foundation.

Mason Angel

Mason is the founder of Industrious Ventures, a venture capital fund supporting early-stage companies that enable or progress new industrial revolutions. Mason is an active member in his family’s foundation and will use this mission to inspire children and advance partnerships with nonprofits focused on STEM in early education. He spends his free time skiing or hiking in the Rocky Mountains and can often be found with his dog Leo, named for low Earth orbit.

Sylvain Chiron

Sylvain is the founder of the Brasserie Mont Blanc, one of the largest craft breweries in France. Sylvain was born in the French Alps and is a lifelong aviator and skier. He earned his pilot’s license at age 16. After spending several summers in Florida taking additional flying lessons and watching Space Shuttle launches, Sylvain entered mandatory service in the French military, where he served as a ski instructor for the French Air Force and NATO pilots. Following the military, he pursued an international MBA at Temple University and moved to Tokyo to study business in Japan. Sylvain and his family are based in Savoy, France, where he’s also involved in philanthropy focused on children’s education and nature preservation.

Kenneth L. Hess

Ken is a software engineer and entrepreneur who shaped today's technology-based family history industry when he developed the Family Tree Maker product line in the 1990s. The company was acquired by Ancestry.com in 2003. In 2001, Ken gave back by founding Science Buddies, a K-12 nonprofit created to level the playing field and improve STEM literacy by inspiring students through free, personalized, hands-on projects in all areas of science, including space exploration. Science Buddies has reached one-quarter billion users. Ken’s lifelong passion for space exploration is in his DNA, with numerous early American pioneers in his mother’s lineage and many engineers and technicians in his father’s.

Carol Schaller

Carol is a retired CPA. In 2017, her doctor told her she would likely go blind. She has since traveled to 25 countries around the world, visited Mount Everest Base Camp, trekked to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda to see mountain gorillas, visited the South Pole, and camped in a tent in the desolate Antarctic plain at -20 degrees. Seeing Earth’s thin layer of atmosphere in the blackness of space will fulfill a lifelong dream. Carol and her husband of 40 years live on a farm in Lumberville, PA, with a view of the stars, two cows, 100 chickens, a dog, and a dancing parrot.

Gopi Thotakura

Gopi is a pilot and aviator who learned how to fly before he could drive. He’s co-founder of Preserve Life Corp, a global center for holistic wellness and applied health located near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In addition to flying jets commercially, Gopi pilots bush, aerobatic, and seaplanes, as well as gliders and hot air balloons, and has served as an international medical jet pilot. A lifelong traveler, his most recent adventure took him to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Gopi is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Each astronaut will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future. This program gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets, including an all-digital method to create and send postcards, which can be found here. The Club’s mission is to inspire and mobilize future generations to pursue careers in STEAM for the benefit of Earth.

From an environmental standpoint, nearly 99% of New Shepard’s dry mass is reused, including the booster, capsule, engine, landing gear, and parachutes. New Shepard’s engine is fueled by highly efficient liquid oxygen and hydrogen. During flight, the only byproduct is water vapor with no carbon emissions.

Source: Blue Origin

Our New Glenn vehicle successfully rolled out and upended today for the first time on the pad at Launch Complex 36 (LC-36). This milestone represents the first view of the advanced heavy-lift vehicle, which will support a multitude of customer missions and Blue Origin programs, including returning to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. Everything on the pad is real New Glenn hardware. The upending is one in a series of major manufacturing and integrated test milestones in preparation for New Glenn’s first launch later this year. The test campaign enables our teams to practice, validate, and increase proficiency in vehicle integration, transport, ground support, and launch operations. These tests do not require engines, which are hotfiring at the historic 4670 Test Stand in Huntsville and Launch Site One in West Texas.

The journey to the pad began in December when New Glenn’s first-stage modules were transported from our factory to the Integration Facility nine miles away. The tests will conclude in the coming weeks following several demonstrations of cryogenic fluid loading, pressure control, and the vehicle’s venting systems. Our launch pad and ground systems are complete and will be activated for the first time during the test campaign. New Glenn is named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. The rocket stands more than 320 feet (98 meters) high—roughly the height of a 30-story building—and features a seven-meter payload fairing, enabling twice the volume of standard five-meter class commercial launch systems. The fairing is large enough to hold three school buses. Its reusable first stage aims for a minimum of 25 missions and will land on a sea-based platform located roughly 620 miles (1,000 km) downrange. Reusability is integral to radically reducing cost-per-launch.

The vehicle is powered by seven of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines, the most powerful liquid oxygen (LOX) / liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine developed since Saturn V’s F1 engines. LNG is cleaner-burning and higher-performing than kerosene-based fuels. Blue Origin has several New Glenn vehicles in production and a full customer manifest. Customers include NASA, Project Kuiper, Telesat, and Eutelsat, among others. Blue Origin is certifying New Glenn with the U.S. Space Force for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program to meet emerging national security objectives.

New Glenn

Source: Blue Origin

The NS-23 mishap resulted in the loss of NS Propulsion Module Tail 3. The Crew Capsule escape system worked as designed, bringing the capsule and its payloads to a safe landing at Launch Site One with no damage. As part of the response to the Crew Capsule escape, the Propulsion Module commanded shutdown of the BE-3PM engine and followed an unpowered trajectory to impact within the defined flight safety analysis prediction, resulting in no danger to human life or property. Public safety was unaffected by the mishap, and no changes to crew safety system designs were recommended as a result of the investigation.

In accordance with the New Shepard Mishap Investigation Plan, Blue Origin formed a Mishap Investigation Team (MIT), led by members of Blue Origin’s Safety & Mission Assurance organization. The investigation was conducted with FAA oversight and included representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board and NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program and Commercial Crew Office. The MIT stood up debris search and recovery efforts at Launch Site One immediately following the mishap and recovered all critical flight hardware within days.

Blue Origin also convened a Mishap Review Board (MRB), which included external non-advocate advisors. The MRB reviewed causal determinations made by the MIT and will continue to exercise oversight of the corrective action implementation.

Aided by onboard video and telemetry, flight hardware recovered from the field, and the work of Blue Origin’s materials labs and test facilities, the MIT determined the direct cause of the mishap to be a structural fatigue failure of the BE-3PM engine nozzle during powered flight. The structural fatigue was caused by operational temperatures that exceeded the expected and analyzed values of the nozzle material. Testing of the BE-3PM engine began immediately following the mishap and established that the flight configuration of the nozzle operated at hotter temperatures than previous design configurations. Forensic evaluation of the recovered nozzle fragments also showed clear evidence of thermal damage and hot streaks resulting from increased operating temperatures. The fatigue location on the flight nozzle is aligned with a persistent hot streak identified during the investigation.

The MIT determined that design changes made to the engine’s boundary layer cooling system accounted for an increase in nozzle heating and explained the hot streaks present. Blue Origin is implementing corrective actions, including design changes to the combustion chamber and operating parameters, which have reduced engine nozzle bulk and hot-streak temperatures. Additional design changes to the nozzle have improved structural performance under thermal and dynamic loads.

Blue Origin expects to return to flight soon, with a re-flight of the NS-23 payloads.

Source: Blue Origin

On February 9th 2023, NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) awarded Blue Origin’s New Glenn the Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) contract. ESCAPADE is part of the NASA Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) program; it is a dual spacecraft mission to study Mars’ magnetosphere. ESCAPADE is a twin-spacecraft Class D mission that will study solar wind energy transfer through Mars’ unique hybrid magnetosphere. Providing launch service for ESCAPADE is a task order under NASA's Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) launch services contract. Blue Origin was on-ramped to the NASA VADR launch services Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract on January 26, 2022, with a five-year period of performance.

“ESCAPADE follows a long tradition of NASA Mars science and exploration missions, and we’re thrilled NASA’s Launch Services Program has selected New Glenn to launch the instruments that will study Mars’ magnetosphere,” said Jarrett Jones, senior vice president, New Glenn, Blue Origin.

About Blue Origin

Blue Origin was founded with a vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. Blue Origin envisions a time when people can tap into the limitless resources of space and enable the movement of damaging industries into space to preserve Earth, humanity’s blue origin.

Blue Origin is working today to create that future by developing reusable launch vehicles and in-space systems that are safe, low cost, and serve the needs of all civil, commercial, and defense customers. Blue Origin’s efforts include flying astronauts to space on New Shepard, producing reusable liquid rocket engines, developing an orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn, building next-generation space habitats, and returning to the surface of the Moon. These endeavors will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move all of humanity closer to that founding vision.

Source: Blue Origin

Blue Origin today announced the crew flying on its NS-22 mission will include Dude Perfect cofounder Coby Cotton, Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology leader Clint Kelly III, Egyptian engineer Sara Sabry, and telecommunications executive Steve Young. Sara will become the first person from Egypt to fly to space; Mário will become the first from Portugal. Vanessa will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air, completing the Explorers’ Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record. 

Each astronaut will carry a postcard to space on behalf of Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, whose Postcards to Space program gives students access to space on Blue Origin’s rockets. The Club’s mission is to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM for the benefit of Earth.  

This mission will be the sixth human flight for the New Shepard program, the third flight this year, and the 22nd in its history. The flight date will be announced soon.  Meet the crew:

Coby Cotton

Coby is one of the five cofounders of the YouTube channel Dude Perfect, the most-subscribed sports channel on YouTube and one of the most popular in the world with more than 57 million followers. He co-founded the sports entertainment channel known for specializing in trick shots and comedy videos in 2009 with his college roommates Garrett Hilbert, Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, and his brother, Cory Cotton.  Coby’s seat is sponsored by MoonDAO, whose mission is to decentralize access to space exploration. MoonDAO members voted to have Coby represent them on this flight. 

Mário Ferreira

Mário is a Portuguese entrepreneur, investor, and President of Pluris Investments Group, which includes more than 40 companies spanning tourism, media (TV and radio), real estate, insurance, and renewable energy. A passionate adventurer, Mário raced the Dakar, the world's most difficult car rally, in 2007, ran the London Marathon in 2010, and has been a scuba diver since he was 20. In 2003, Mário was decorated by the President of Portugal with the title of “Comendador.” 

Vanessa O’Brien

Vanessa is a British-American explorer. Following NS-22, Vanessa will become the first woman to reach extremes on land, sea, and air, completing the Explorers' Extreme Trifecta, a Guinness World Record. Vanessa will become the first woman to reach the Earth’s highest peak (Mt. Everest), its deepest (Challenger Deep), and cross the Kármán line, the internationally recognized boundary of space. She is an advocate for climate change and a champion for women’s equality and education, carrying the UN Women’s flag to the summit of K2. 

Clint Kelly III

Clint managed research and technology programs focused primarily on computer science and robotics while in government and in industry. In 1984, he started the Autonomous Land Vehicle project while at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is credited with starting the development of the technology base leading to today’s driverless cars. He and his wife have photographed wildlife on every continent from the High Arctic to Antarctica with an emphasis on big cats, polar bears, and all 21 species of penguins. 

Sara Sabry

Sara is an Egyptian mechanical and biomedical engineer, and founder of Deep Space Initiative (DSI), a nonprofit aiming to increase accessibility for space research. She became Egypt’s first female analog astronaut in 2021 after completing a two-week Moon mission simulating the extreme conditions astronauts experience in orbital space. Sara earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the American University in Cairo and a master’s in biomedical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano. She is currently pursuing a PhD in aerospace sciences with a focus on space suit design. Sara is fluent in Arabic, French, and English, and currently resides in Berlin.   Sara’s seat is sponsored by Space for Humanity (S4H), a nonprofit whose mission is to expand access to space for all of humanity. S4H also sponsored NS-21 astronaut Katya Echazarreta’s seat. 

Steve Young

Steve is the former CEO of Young’s Communications LLC (Y-COM), the largest telecommunications contractor in the state of Florida under his leadership from 1992 to 2021. An avid fisherman, Steve serves as Governor of the Board at Eau Gallie Yacht Club and Committee Member of the Space Coast Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). He is also a large community contributor through Trinity Group, his giving foundation, and owns Pineapples, a new restaurant in Melbourne, Florida. 

About Blue Origin

Blue Origin was founded with a vision of millions of people living and working in space for the benefit of Earth. Blue Origin envisions a time when people can tap into the limitless resources of space and enable the movement of damaging industries into space to preserve Earth, humanity’s blue origin. Blue Origin is working today to create that future by developing reusable launch vehicles and in-space systems that are safe, low cost, and serve the needs of all civil, commercial, and defense customers. Blue Origin’s efforts include flying astronauts to space on New Shepard, producing reusable liquid rocket engines, developing an orbital launch vehicle with New Glenn, building next-generation space habitats, and returning to the surface of the Moon. These endeavors will add new chapters to the history of spaceflight and move all of humanity closer to that founding vision. Source: Blue Origin

More Articles …