Blue Origin NS-19: new manned launch for Jeff Bezos’ company

Announced at the end of November then postponed due to altitude winds from December 9 to today December 11, the Mission Blue Origin NS-19 it’s the company’s last space mission of the year Jeff Bezos. As in the past, it was a suborbital launch which exceeded the Kármán line conventionally placed at an altitude of 100 km.

This mission had the largest number of crew members since the beginning of human spaceflight New Shepard Rocket. Aboard the capsule were Michael Strahan, Laura Shepard Churchley, Dylan Taylor, Evan Dick, Lane Bess and Cameron Bess. These last two are father and son and this is the first time that a father-son duo has flown into space. The flight was paid for by four components while a Laura Shepard Churchley And Michael Strahan was offered.

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There Mission NS-19 was dedicated to Glen de Vries, a crew member of NS-18, disappeared following a plane crash (unrelated to Blue Origin’s activity) in early November. Also on board was a pendant paying tribute to the actor Leonard Nimoy supporting its message of living a long and healthy life, with a vision for the future of peace, tolerance and unity.

Blue Origin NS-19: the new manned mission

As announced by the FAA, this is the last mission for which its members will receive “astronaut wings”. At 3:18 p.m. (Italian time), the crew reached the launch site (aboard Rivian all-terrain vehicles) where the rocket was waiting for them with the capsule already attached to the top. At that point, there were just under 40 minutes left.

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Immediately after this started where security procedures are repeated and what will happen soon after. At 3:22 p.m. the future astronauts rang the bell located at the start of the walkway that led them to the spacecraft blue origin above New Shepard Rocket. After a few usual snapshots, the crew entered the capsule to settle into the seats (with 28 minutes left before departure). At 3:33 p.m., the capsule hatch was closed with 22 minutes to go.

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With 15 minutes left before launch, a plug (duration approximately 6 minutes) to check that the tailgate is closed. With two minutes left to take off, the rocket initiated the automatic procedure while the gangway retracted and the maneuvering fins located at the base of New Shepherd.

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At 4:01 p.m. Italian time, the rocket left the launch pad for its approximately 15-minute journey to an altitude of 100 km. About 1 minute after departure Max-Q was hit and at 2:23 the main engine stopped and the feeling of weightlessness began. After 3 minutes, there was the separation between the capsule and the rocket. Shortly after, the capsule reached its maximum altitude at approximately 107.05km (and therefore above the Kármán line).

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The capsule and the rocket then resume their controlled descent towards the surface (these are reusable vectors to limit costs). THE Blue Origin New Shepard Rocket returned to its pad in the Texas desert 7:25 after launch. At 8:23 a.m. the guide parachutes open and at 8:42 a.m. the main parachutes open, which slows down the capsule with the crew.

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The astronauts returned just over 10 minutes after launch with a successfully completed mission. The field recovery team approached the New Shepard capsule to open the main hatch. The operations took a few minutes both because the landing point is not easily accessible (which is why all-terrain vehicles are used) and to ensure that the opening of the capsule is secure. At 4:22 p.m. the capsule door was opened and the occupants were greeted by Jeff Bezos himself.

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