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Blue Origin successfully completes comeback mission

Blue Origin on Sunday successfully completed its first crewed launch since being forced to ground its New Shepard vehicle in September 2022.

The mission, NS-25, didn’t entirely go to plan. Due to a technical issue, the countdown was held for more than 20 minutes, and one of its three parachutes didn’t fully inflate during the descent.

However, the firm said in its live webcast that its capsule is designed to land safely with only two parachutes and all six people onboard were in good condition.

It comes after Blue Origin was forced to stop all flights nearly two years ago following a failure on a payload flight without any astronauts onboard.


“A big thank you to our astronaut customers for the opportunity to provide this life-changing experience,” said Phil Joyce, senior vice-president of New Shepard.

“Each of you are pioneers helping to advance our mission to build a road to space for the benefit of Earth.”

New Shephard blasted off at the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas at 10:35am on Sunday and the mission lasted nine minutes and 53 seconds.

The six-person crew included Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller, Gopi Thotakura, and former Air Force Captain Ed Dwight.


Dwight was the US’ first black astronaut candidate who never reached space.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy chose him to complete an elite US Air Force flight training program known as a pathway for entering the NASA Astronaut Corps, but he was ultimately never selected for a mission.

“This is a life-changing experience,” Dwight said after the Blue Origin flight. “I thought I didn’t need it in my life. But I lied.”

New Shepard has now flown 37 people into space, including yesterday’s crew.

Space Connect has previously reported how Blue Origin concluded that the failed launch in 2022 was linked to an engine in the propulsion module.

The engine suffered a structural failure linked to operating at a temperature hotter than it was designed for.

While Sunday’s blast-off was the first with a human crew since the incident, the company did launch a successful uncrewed flight in December last year.

Origin’s downtime allowed its biggest rival, Virgin Galactic, to gain ground in the space tourism business and launch its first commercial flights in 2023.

Galactic will appear at this month’s Australian Space Summit and Exhibition alongside the team behind the firm’s pioneering first commercial mission.

To find out more and book tickets, click here.

Galactic joins our line-up of headliners, including the Under Secretary of the US Air Force, the commander overseeing the US Space Force’s Indo-Pacific team, the new head of Australia’s Space Command, and the head of the Australian Space Agency.

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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