Blue Origin’s 24th mission was a success. After its New Shepard rocket took off from West Texas on Tuesday morning, the booster and crew capsule safely separated mid-flight, with both landing back on Earth.
Liftoff occurs around 25:44 in the livestream and from there, you can see New Shepard propel to a maximum altitude of about 66 miles, allowing the uncrewed capsule to spend a short time in space. The reusable booster lands upright at 33:00 following the brief trip, and the capsule comes parachuting down after.
While Blue Origin originally planned on a December 18th flight, the Jeff Bezos-owned space tourism company scrubbed the launch due to cold temperatures and “ground issues” its teams had to troubleshoot. The NS-24 mission carried 33 payloads to space, with more than half from NASA and others from educational institutions. It also had 38,000 postcards from students around the world onboard. You can watch a replay of the livestream in the video embedded below.
The latest flight comes over one year after Blue Origin abruptly ended its NS-23 mission due to a booster failure. Following an investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration pinpointed the issue as a “structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher than expected engine operating temperatures.” The FAA required Blue Origin to carry out 21 corrective actions, including a redesign of certain engine and nozzle components before it could attempt another launch.
Although Blue Origin has brought humans to space before, this latest success brings the company closer to its goal of offering trips to space for more people.