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Blue Origin Postpones Its NS21 Mission Indefinitely Due To Faulty Rocket System

Blue Origin's NS21 mission has been delayed as engineers noticed a flaw in the New Shepard's backup systems during final vehicle check-outs.

Blue Origin

Image: Twitter/@BlueOrigin


Blue Origin, on May 18, announced that it is postponing its 21st space flight NS21 (New Shepard 21) mission indefinitely. In a mission update on Twitter, the company said that the engineers noticed a flaw in the New Shepard's backup systems during final vehicle check-outs. "During our final vehicle check-outs, we observed one of New Shepard’s back-up systems was not meeting our expectations for performance. In an abundance of caution, we will be delaying the #NS21 launch originally scheduled for Friday. Stay tuned for further updates (sic)", the Jeff Bezos-led firm tweeted.

The launch was initially scheduled for May 20 at 7 pm (IST) [8:30 a.m. (CDT) or 13:30 (UTC)] from the company's Launch Site One in Texas. The NS21 mission will be one to look out for as it will launch six new commercial passengers having a diverse portfolio across different fields. Besides, this private mission will be the first to launch the first-ever Mexican-born female astronaut named Katya Echazarreta into space. Earlier today, Blue Origin shared a group photo of the NS21 crew members who have arrived at the Astronaut Village near the launch site in Texas.

The NS21 mission crew

The crew consists of six members who will venture into space in what would be the fifth crewed flight and 21st overall mission of Blue Origin. The NS21 team includes Evan Dick, who is an ATP-rated pilot, a volunteer for Starfighters Aerospace, an avid sailor and motorcyclist as well as a former Blue Origin customer. Echazarreta, who would create history by becoming the first Mexican-born woman to reach outer space, is an electrical engineer by profession and has formerly worked with NASA for four years. 

The third member of the mission is Hamish Harding who has several aviation world records to his name. He has also dived to the deepest point of the ocean- 'Challenger Deep'- with a fellow passenger and explorer Victor Vescovo. On the other hand, Vescovo has dived into the Challenger Deep twelve times and is the first person to visit the deepest point in the world’s five oceans. Accompanying these four are Victor Correa Hespanha who will become the second Brazilian and the first 'cryptonaut' to fly to space and Jaison Robinson, an avid scuba diver, skydiver, and founder of JJM Investments, a commercial real estate company.

Notably, only two of the members- Echazarreta and Hespanha- will fly on sponsored tickets whereas the rest will pay an undisclosed amount. 

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