Watch live today! Blue Origin launching New Shepard suborbital space

A Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft will launch on a suborbital flight today (Sept. 24) and you can watch it live here. Liftoff is set for 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) from Blue Origin’s West Texas test site. This will be the 13th New Shepard flight for Blue Origin and the seventh flight for this specific space capsule and rocket. Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a reusable space capsule and booster designed to carry passengers on trips to suborbital space and back. Its booster returns to Earth to make a vertical landing while the capsule descends under parachutes for a land landing. On this mission, called NG-13, New Shepard will carry 12 commercial payloads. Among them is the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration, a science payload mounted to the exterior of the booster to test technology for future NASA moon missions. “The lunar landing sensor demo will test precision landing technologies for future missions to the Moon in support of the Artemis program,” Blue Origin wrote in an update. “The experiment will verify how these technologies (sensors, computers, and algorithms) work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the Moon, enabling a vehicle to land autonomously on the lunar surface within 100 meters of a designated point” Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-13) is currently targeting liftoff for Thursday, September 24, at 10:00 am CDT / 15:00 UTC. Current weather conditions are favorable. This will be the 13th New Shepard mission and the 7th consecutive flight for this particular vehicle (a record), demonstrating its operational reusability. New Shepard will fly 12 commercial payloads to space and back on this mission, including the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate under a Tipping Point partnership. This is the first payload to fly mounted on the exterior of a New Shepard booster rather than inside the capsule, opening the door to a wide range of future high-altitude sensing, sampling, and exposure payloads. The lunar landing sensor demo will test precision landing technologies for future missions to the Moon in support of the Artemis program. The experiment will verify how these technologies (sensors, computers, and algorithms) work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the Moon, enabling a vehicle to land autonomously on the lunar surface within 100 meters of a designated point. The technologies could allow future missions—both crewed and robotic—to target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missions, such as regions with varied terrain near craters. Achieving high accuracy landing will enable long-term lunar exploration and future Mars missions. This is the first of two flights to test these lunar landing technologies, increasing confidence for successful missions in the Artemis program. NS-13 is part of the risk reduction process to test these types of sensors for future missions. New Shepard booster undergoing integration and testing of the sensor experiment at Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. As a part of NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System program, Blue Origin is also leading the National Team, comprised of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper, to develop a Human Landing System to return Americans to the lunar surface. The technology for the Blue Origin Descent Element that takes astronauts to the lunar surface is derived from the autonomous landing capabilities developed for the New Shepard program. New Shepard has flown more than 100 payloads to space across 10 sequential flights. Payloads on board NS-13 include experiments from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory , Southwest Research Institute , NASA Flight Opportunities , Space Lab Technologies , University of Florida , Space Environment Technologies , and mu Space Corp . A selection of the manifested payloads can be found below. Also on board will be tens of thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s nonprofit, Club for the Future , some of which will include a special NASA Artemis stamp. All mission crew supporting this launch are exercising strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel, customers, and surrounding communities. You can watch the launch live at BlueOrigin.com . The pre-show begins at T-30 minutes and will provide mission details, including a special update from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. Follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter and Instagram for launch updates. —Gradatim Ferociter Live @ 1 pm ET: NASA NG-13 cargo ship science update NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24, to discuss science investigations, technology demonstrations, and commercial products launching on Northrop Grumman’s 14th commercial resupply mission for the agency to the International Space Station . Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live online at: http://www.nasa.gov/live Northrop Grumman is targeting Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 10:26 p.m., for the launch of its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft will carry crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 64 crew. David Brady, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will provide an overview of the research and technology aboard the Cygnus spacecraft. Also participating in the briefing are: Karl Hasenstein, professor of biology at the University of Lafayette, and David Reed, Techshot Florida operations director, who will discuss the Plant Habitat-02 investigation, which will study how radishes grow in space to prepare for feeding future crews on deep-space missions Yusuf Erkul, co-founder and president of Kernal Biologics, who will discuss the Onco Selectors investigation, which leverages microgravity to identify targeted cancer therapies Jim Fuller of Collins Aerospace and Melissa McKinley, NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics Reduction project manager, who will discuss the Universal Waste Management System , a more compact and reliable space toilet that will be used on the space station and on the Artemis II mission Carlos Cabrera, professor of chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in San Juan, and Camila Morales-Navas, chemistry PhD student at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in San Juan, who will discuss the Ammonia Electro-Oxidation investigation, which studies a potential innovative water recovery system Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, co-founders and creative directors of Felix & Paul Studios, and Jonathan Woods, executive producer, TIME Studios, who will discuss the ISS Experience EVA Camera , which will be used to film a spacewalk and Earth views in cinematic 360-degree virtual reality Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA and Stéphane de La Faverie, group president, The Estée Lauder Companies and global brand president, Estée Lauder, who will discuss plans to photograph the company’s New Advanced Night Repair serum in the space station’s iconic cupola window as part of NASA’s efforts to enable business activities at the space station and develop a robust low-Earth orbit economy Questions can also be submitted on social media using #AskNASA. For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/northropgrumman Live at 3 pm ET: NASA talks asteroid Bennu sample-return with OSIRIS-REx From NASA: NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24, to provide an update on the agency’s first attempt to contact the surface of asteroid Bennu and collect a sample next month. Teleconference audio and visuals will stream live on NASA’s website . The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the asteroid’s surface during its first sample collection attempt Oct. 20. Its sampling mechanism will touch Bennu’s surface for several seconds, fire a charge of pressurized nitrogen to disturb the surface, and collect a sample before the spacecraft backs away. Participating in this mission update are: Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Sandra Freund, OSIRIS-REx mission operations manager at Lockheed Martin Space In response to rocky conditions discovered on the asteroid’s surface when OSIRIS-REx began orbiting Bennu in 2018, the mission team has reduced the sample area to one-tenth of the original plan. This means the spacecraft must target Bennu’s surface with even greater accuracy. A building-size boulder also is situated on Nightingale crater’s eastern rim, which could pose a hazard to the spacecraft as it backs away from the asteroid after collecting the sample. The OSIRIS-Rex team performed two rehearsal operations to prepare for these challenges and is ready. The spacecraft is scheduled to begin the journey back to Earth next year, arriving with the sample in 2023. Studying Bennu helps researchers learn more about the origins of our solar system, sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and hazards and resources in near-Earth space. For more information on OSIRIS-Rex, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex and https://www.asteroidmission.org Delayed: SpaceX Starlink launch UPDATE for 2:06 pm ET: SpaceX has called off today’s launch attempt of a […]

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