Blue Origin launches first crewed mission in over a year

Lift off of NS-25 from West Texas (Credit Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifted off from their West Texas Launch Site One on Sunday, carrying a crew of seven on a short hop to space and back.

This was the first crewed mission for Blue Origin since September 2022 following the loss of a vehicle on an uncrewed flight when a nozzle failure caused the flight termination system to activate, sending the capsule safely away from the failing New Shepard.

The mission, NS-25, flew six crew members above the Karman line in their suborbital journey. The flight lasted just short of 10 minutes overall, with the crew reaching an altitude of 351,111 ft (107 km) and a top ascent speed of 2,236 mph (3,599 km/h). The first stage booster, on the other hand, reached an altitude of 350,752 ft (107 km), just slightly lower than the crew capsule.

The crew consisted of six private citizens from various backgrounds, including Former U.S. Air Force Captain Ed Dwight, who became the oldest person to fly to space at the age of 90. Dwight was originally selected to be a NASA astronaut in 1963 but never flew and retired three years later.

2 out of 3 parachutes inflated during landing (Credit Blue Origin)

While the first portion of the flight went smoothly and the first stage booster made a smooth touchdown, only two out of the three main parachutes on the crew capsule inflated. This is a contingency that Blue Origin has prepared for, previously intentionally landing with just two to prove it can be done safely.

It’s currently unknown if the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the parachute issue and if it will cause further delays to launches out of West Texas.

What do you think of this most recent flight for Blue Origin?

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Blue Origin launches first crewed mission in over a year
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