Bezos’ Blue Origin to set record with launch to test NASA moon mission gear


The sixth landing of the same New Shepard booster.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin, the space company founded and funded by Amazon head Jeff Bezos, is planning to make its 13th trip to space, using a New Shepard rocket that will be flying for the seventh time, setting a record for rocket recycling. 

The mission was originally set for Thursday, then postponed to Friday due to a potential issue with the internal power supply. On Friday morning, the startup announced that the launch will be further delayed, without announcing a new target date. 

Mission NS-13 will be carrying a dozen payloads to the edge of space and back, including a demonstration of a lunar landing sensor that will test technologies for future moon missions as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

The sensor will be the first payload to ride mounted to the exterior of New Shepard rather than inside its capsule. 

SpaceX, another commercial space outfit headed by a famous billionaire, in the form of Elon Musk, has so far used a single Falcon 9 booster up to six times. It’s worth noting, though, that the Falcon 9 is a different class of rocket that is used for more technically complicated orbital missions.

A few of the other payloads on board this flight of New Shepard include a test of a new system to autonomously grow aquatic plants that could supplement a crew’s diet and of a new cooling system developed by NASA for spacecraft electronics.

The whole thing from blast-off to soft landing back at the same site will take only about 12 minutes. 

We’ll update this post once we have a new launch date and video feed of the live coverage.