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Blue Origin livestreams New Shepard launch Sunday

Last launch showed views on board crew capsule

Saturday's mission was a success, according to Jeff Bezos. (Photo: Blue Origin)
Saturday's mission was a success, according to Jeff Bezos. (Photo: Blue Origin)

How about watching a rocket launch -- and landing -- with your Sunday brunch?

Blue Origin streamed the launch of its New Shepard rocket Sunday from the company's West Texas facilities.

Amazon billionaire and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos shared the news on Twitter Friday, saying that launch preparations were underway for New Shepard’s eighth test flight.

On Saturday, the company said they are targeting 8:45 a.m. CT (9:45 a.m. ET) liftoff.

“Launch preparations are underway for New Shepard’s 8th test flight, as we continue our progress toward human spaceflight,” Bezos tweeted. “Currently targeting Sunday 4/29 with launch window opening up at 8:30am CDT.”

The stream on BlueOrigin.com went live 15 minutes before liftoff.

The company typically shares videos and photos of its launches from Texas post-launch; however, Bezos said that this time, there would be an online stream to watch the liftoff and landing.

New Shepard, named for the first NASA astronaut to travel in space, Alan Shepard, blasts off with a reusable booster and its Crew Capsule 2.0 before the booster lands on four legs back on Earth. After the capsule and booster separate, the pod will continue upward until it floats down on a parachute back to Earth.

In December, Blue Origin launch its new 2.0 capsule with huge windows that one day space tourist might look through. The only passenger on board this flight was a dummy called “Mannequin Skywalker.”

After launch, Blue Origin shared what an actual crew, or in this case a mannequin, would see if they were on board the flight to the edge of space. The view did not disappoint.

On Sunday, Mannequin Skywalker was on board when the New Shepard launched.

In a tweet, Blue Origin said the mannequin "will be conducting astronaut telemetry and science studies."

Blue Origin hasn’t released the price of tourism flights or when people can start booking. 

The company has also offered New Shepard flights to allow researchers to perform tests in low-gravity environments, including those from the University of Central Florida, one of the first groups to take advantage of this new launch vehicle for space sciences.

UCF Physics Professor Joshua Colwell's space dust experiment was among the first selected to fly on the company's reusable rocket. UCF is slated for several more test flights in the near future on New Shepard.

On Sunday, the second round of commercial payloads flew in the space capsule.

Blue Origin’s eight test flight clients included NASA’s John Space Center, which tested a sensor suit that collects capsule cabin data such as pressure and CO2 levels. The Schmitt Space Communicator tested access to Wi-Fi for in-space users. Several experiments for the German space agency, DLR, were also on board.


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