Update: The crew has landed and you can read more about the 11-minute mission in our packaging story.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin will launch six people into suborbital space and back Thursday morning (August 4), and you can watch the action live.
A New Shepard The suborbital vehicle is scheduled to lift off from the Blue Origin site in West Texas Thursday at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT) on the company’s sixth manned spaceflight. You can watch live here on Space.com, courtesy of blue originWhere directly through the company (opens in a new tab). Coverage will begin 30 minutes before launch.
The mission – known as NS-22 as it is New Shepard’s 22nd flight, manned or uncrewed – will carry six people, including Coby Cotton, one of the founders of popular YouTube channel Dude Perfect.
In images, in pictures: Blue Origin’s first New Shepard passenger launch with Jeff Bezos
Mário Ferreira and Sara Sabry are also on board, who will respectively become the first Portuguese and Egyptians to reach the final frontier. You can find out more about all passengers in our History of NS-22 crew members.
New Shepard is an automated, reusable rocket-capsule combo designed to take people and research payloads on brief trips into suborbital space. The rocket returns to Earth for a powered landing like SpaceX’s first stages Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy orbital rockets do, and the crew capsule lands softly under the parachutes.
New Shepard’s missions only last about 11 minutes from start to finish. Passengers can see the curve of the Earth against the blackness of space and experience a few minutes of weightlessness.
Blue Origin did not reveal how much it charges for this experience. In comparison, Galactic Virgothe company’s main competitor in suborbital space tourism, is selling seats aboard its VSS Unity spaceplane for $450,000.
The piloted VSS Unity has reached suborbital space four times to date, but is not yet fully operational. New Shepard is fully operational; NS-22 will be its third commercial passenger flight of the year.
Mike Wall is the author of “The low (opens in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Or on Facebook (opens in a new tab).