More than a month after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rode a rocket, his Blue Origin space adventure is sending another new Shepard suborbital spacecraft to the final front – but this time the high-profile payload It is a painting, not a person.
Blue Origin’s 17th New Shepard mission is scheduled to be launched from the company’s suborbital spaceport in West Texas at 8:35 a.m. (6:35 a.m. Pacific time) on Thursday, but due to weather or Technical issues, the flight may always be delayed.
The reusable aircraft that Bezos and three crew members took last month was optimized for manned flight, but the spacecraft that flew on Thursday was optimized to carry research payloads. During the eighth suborbital outing of this special rocket ship, no one will ride.
If everything goes according to plan, the flight should follow New Shepard’s standard profile: the hydrogen booster will push the capsule to an altitude of more than 100 kilometers (62 miles), and then the autonomous landing pad will not be far from the launch site during landing.
At the same time, the capsule will experience weightlessness for a few minutes, and then float to a parachute assisted landing in the West Texas Desert. It should be more than 10 minutes after launch.
The main research task of this mission is to test the precision landing system for NASA, following the preliminary tests conducted in October last year. The guidance system is designed for the manned lunar lander of NASA’s Artemis program.
There are 18 other scientific payloads in the New Shepard capsule, 11 of which are financially supported by NASA.A payload will test a process Convert common space waste into exhaust gas and useful resources Such as water and propellant.Another payload will place a New method of measuring propellant levels Test with zero gravity.
But the large payload is actually on the outside of the capsule: in cooperation with Utah Longsheng Aerospace, Blue Origin is flying three portraits drawn by Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo on the main slide cover of the capsule. The “suborbital triptych” depicts Boafu’s mother; Boafu’s childhood friend Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe’s mother; and Boafu himself.
“A self-portrait looking up at the sky best illustrates what this project means to me,” Boafo said in a statement. Pre-release statement“I knew that the sky is the limit since I was a child, and now I am working on a project that goes beyond the sky we know.”
“Suborbital Triptych” is the first in a series of “Art x Space” charity activities organized by Uplift.
Blue Origin also sent thousands of postcards sent by children. Future club, The company’s non-profit educational foundation.Some of these cards have an additional connection to the contemporary art world: they are decorated with Music video Created for OK Go Sandbox #ArtTogetherNow initiative.
After Bezos returned from Blue Origin’s first manned space flight, the company announced that the next manned flight will take place in the time frame between September and October. The staff for this task, presumably including customers who paid high prices but undisclosed fares, have not yet been announced.
On the surface, Blue Origin’s new Shepard suborbital space program has progressed well over the past six years-but the more ambitious plan of the Kent, Washington company faces more significant challenges.
The first launch of the orbital New Glenn rocket was postponed until the end of 2022, and Blue Origin’s delivery of the BE-4 rocket engine to the United Launch Alliance, one of its closest partners in the aerospace industry, was late.
At the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this week, United Launch Alliance CEO Tori Bruno stated that he expects to deliver the first flightable BE-4 for ULA’s next-generation Vulcan rocket by the end of this year engine. Bruno admitted that the delivery will be “later than we planned”, but he insisted that he was “very, very satisfied” with the BE-4’s performance during the test.
On the other hand, Blue Origin has filed a lawsuit in federal court to protest NASA’s decision not to fund the development of a lunar lander led by Bezos. NASA and SpaceX have shelved a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract, awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit.
A quick decision is expected to be made around November 1st-this may be after Blue Origin’s next manned space flight.