For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – Blue Origin plans to conduct an astronaut rehearsal test simulating flights with humans for the next flight of their New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle during a launch targeted for Wednesday morning, April 14 from the company’s West Texas test site.
Liftoff of the New Shepard suborbital vehicle on the NS-15 mission is slated for 11:15 AM EDT 10:15 AM CDT / 1515 GMT on April 14, 2021 from Launch Site One on Blue Origin’s West Texas site north of Van Horn, Texas.
Live launch coverage webcast starts at T-60 minutes on BlueOrigin.com
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 13, 2021
The live footage will include footage of the astronaut rehearsal activities, said Blue Origin in a statement.
The goal of the NS-15 mission is to carry out real life rehearsal tests as practice for the time when Blue Origin will actually start launching humans to the edge of space for several minutes of weightlessness on future customer flights of the suborbital New Shepard capsule and rocket.
Blue Origin is founded and funded by billionaire Jeff Bezos.
“NS-15 is a verification step for the vehicle and operations prior to flying astronauts,” said Blue Origin.
#NewShepard NS-15 is targeting liftoff Wed., April 14, from Launch Site One. Launch window opens at 8:00 AM CDT / 13:00 UTC. NS-15 is a verification step prior to flying astronauts. Webcast starts at T-60 mins on https://t.co/7Y4TherpLr. Learn more: https://t.co/9c3S3Gxwow pic.twitter.com/lMvf071mtw
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 12, 2021
“During the mission, astronaut operational exercises will be conducted in preparation for human space flight. The primary operations will entail Blue Origin personnel standing in as astronauts entering into the capsule prior to launch.”
“These astronauts will climb the launch tower, get into their seats, buckle their harnesses, and conduct a communications check from their seat with CAPCOM, the Capsule Communicator. The tower operations team will prepare the capsule cabin for launch and then briefly close the capsule hatch.”
The astronaut stand ins will then exit the capsule prior to the actual launch.
Similarly, post-landing, the astronauts stand ins will get inside the capsule to rehearse hatch opening, as though they had participated in the launch and then exit the capsule at the landing site.
This New Shepard vehicle previously flew to an altitude of 107 kilometers on the NS-14 mission launched on Jan. 14, 2021 from Launch Site One in West Texas
Inside the capsule during the NS-15 flight will be Mannequin Skywalker.
Watch this view from NS-14:
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) January 14, 2021
The last launch was conducted in January 2021 on the NS-14 mission
There have been 14 successful flights thus far
Blue Origin is also building the orbit class New Glenn rocket which will launch from pad 36 on Cape Canaveral space Force Station in Florida.
The massive pad is under construction as seen in my photo here:
Blue Origin is also competing for a NASA contract to build a human lunar lander for Project Artemis.
They are designing the Blue Moon lunar lander under the auspices of National Team led by Blue Origin.
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about ISS, Artemis and NASA missions, SpaceX, Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2, Demo-2, ISS, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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April 17: American Space Museum Titusville, FL, from 11 am to 2 pm. Ask me about NASA missions, Mars rovers, human spaceflight and more – with shuttle technician and Sew Sister Jean Wright. Display of my Mars mosaics and space and rocket photos for sale – as well as Jean Wright custom sewn space face masks and space apparel and more