Featured Image: Blue Origin
Lift Off Time
(Subject to change)
May 20, 2022 ~ 13:30:00 UTC | 08:30:00 CDT
(What rocket company is launching it?)
(Who’s paying for this?)
New Shepard 4
Launch Site One, Corn Ranch, Texas, USA
Where is the spacecraft going?
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
Where will the first stage land?
It will land at Blue Origin’s landing pad, ~3.3 km (~2 miles) from the launch site
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
There are no fairings on the New Shepard vehicle
Are these fairings new?
There are no fairings on the New Shepard vehicle
How’s the weather looking?
This will be the:
– 2nd flight for Blue Origin in 2022
– 5th flight with humans on New Shepard
– 21st overall flight of New Shepard
– 7th launch of the NS4 booster
Where to watch
Once an official livestream becomes available, find it here
What’s All This Mean?
For the fifth time in its 20 year history, Blue Origin will be launching humans on a sub-orbital flight on the NS-21 mission. A total of six humans will fly in the New Shepard Crew Capsule. Evan Dick, Katya Echazarreta, Hamish Harding, Victor Correa Hespanha, Jaison Robinson and Victor Vescovo will strap into the New Shepard Crew Capsule at Corn Ranch in West Texas and take part in their flight. Evan Dick will be flying for the second time. Similar to most other flights of New Shepard, the launch vehicle will put the capsule on a sub-orbital trajectory.
Who Is On NS-21?
Evan Dick is a very active individual who lives for adventure. Dick is a rated Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) who also enjoys riding motorcycles and sailing. On the business side of things, Dick is an engineer, investor, and Managing Member of Dick Holdings, LLC. His company is a part of the Management of Companies and Enterprises Industry.
Dick will be flying on New Shepard for the second time, making him the first “frequent flyer”.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Katya Echazarreta has set herself the mission of providing representation for women and minorities in STEM fields. She earned a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering in 2019 from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Now, she is studying at Johns Hopkins University to acquire her Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
In between her Bachelors and Masters, Echazarreta worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on five NASA missions including the Perseverance Rover, currently on Mars.
Katya Echazarreta will be the first Mexican-born woman in space.
After this flight, Hamish Harding will have travelled to both extremes, space and the bottom of the ocean. In 2021, Harding dove to a depth of 11,000 m (36,000 ft) at the Challenger Deep in a submarine with Victor Vescovo, who is also flying on NS-21. To further his relations with space, Harding, alongside Col. Terry Virts who Commanded the International Space Station, broke the Round-the-World record in a Gulfstream G650ER. This record is the circumnavigation record flying over both the North and South Poles.
Victor Correa Hespanha
Victor Correa Hespanha, a 28 year old man from Brazil, is flying on NS-21 via a sposored seat from Crypto Space Agency. The Crypto Space Agency aims to combine the likeness of space and the financial power of the crypto markets. This flight will make him the second Brazilian to visit space.
A characteristic often seen in those who fly on New Shepard is a passion and drive for adventure, which is very true of Jaison Robinson. Robinson has spent time in the air and sea both skydiving and scuba diving. His aviation dreams were fullfilled by breaking the sound barrier in a Mig-29 fighter jet. He also spent time in extreme temperatures in Antarctica and in Venezuala while climbing the worlds tallest waterfall.
Robinson also appeared on Surivor: Samoa (pictured) in 2009. As of present, Robinson owns a commercial real estate company, JJM Investments. This will be his first flight to a new personal altitude record.
Continuing the theme of adventures, Victor Vescovo has completed the “Explorer’s Grand Slam” – the summiting of the worlds seven summits as well as skiing to the North and South Poles. As of 2020, Vescovo has dived the Challenger Deep twelves times (a record). For one dive, he was accompanied by Hamish Harding, who is also flying on NS-21.
Vesoco knows his way around vehicles too. He is a certified multi-engine jet and helicopter pilot. In addition, he operates submersible test craft.
He holds degrees from Standford, MIT, Harvard, and served 20 years in the US Navy Reserve in intelligence. Vescovo is no newbie to adventure, but this space flight might take the cake.
What Is The Crew Capsule?
The New Shepard Crew Capsule has the capability to carry up to six people in a large pressurized 15 m3 (530 ft3) interior. Blue Origin’s main goal is to open up the experience of microgravity and the view of the curvature of the Earth to the general public. Each large window can let through 92% of visible light despite its structural ability to hold pressure making the experience that much more clear.
Audiences had the ability to see unique views of the people inside the capsule during the first human flight of New Shepard NS-16. This is due to the power of 12 interior cameras with HDR capabilities so great that both the interior and exterior of the capsule can be properly exposed. Future ordinary space tourists will be able to get their own personal copy of a memorable flight.
For safety, the capsule has a built-in solid-fueled abort motor known as the Crew Capsule Escape Solid Rocket Motor (CCE-SRM) in the “pusher” configuration. Check out the Everyday Astronaut video and article on the differences and advantages/disadvantages to puller versus pusher configured motors. This motor comes from Aerojet Rocketdyne and was proof tested on the final flight of NS2.
What Is New Shepard?
Aptly named New Shepard, after the first American to be launched on a suborbital trajectory, Alan Shepard, this rocket is designed for suborbital flights. So far there have been four New Shepard rockets built: NS1, NS2, NS3, and NS4. NS1 flew for the first time on April 29, 2015 and reached an altitude of 93.5 km (58.1 mi) before failing to land because of a hydraulic pressure issue. The capsule landed successfully by parachute and was recovered.
The New Shepard booster is powered by a single BE-3PM liquid-fueled engine with the capability of producing 489 kN (110,000 lbf) of thrust. The BE-3 is fueled by liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LOx) and was developed and tested by Blue Origin in the 2000s.
After the failure of NS1, Blue Origin then moved on to NS2 which completed the first successful launch and landing of a New Shepard booster on November 23, 2015 after reaching an apex of 100.5 km (62.4 miles). This marked the first time that a New Shepard rocket had carried a capsule above the Kármán line, descended it in a controlled fashion, and landed successfully on deployable landing legs. About a month later SpaceX did one better – they landed an orbital class rocket booster for the first time.
NS2 was also the booster to perform the famous in-flight abort where the Crew Capsule 2.0 fired its single solid-propellant abort motor at an altitude of 7.1 km (4.4 miles) to simulate a failure of the booster. This test was successful and both the capsule and booster were recovered. NS2 went on to complete five more successful test flights before it was retired.
After the retirement of NS2, Blue Origin moved on to testing the still active NS3 vehicle. So far, NS3 has completed 8 successful flights with the first occurring on December 12, 2017. NS3 also flew Crew Capsule 2.0, the second iteration of the capsule. Improvements to NS3 included enhanced recovery hardware to increase reusability, as well as increased thermal protection.
NS4 for NS-21
NS-21 will be the seventh flight of the NS4 rocket. NS4 has some improved accessibility panels for easier cleaning and checkouts of the hardware. NS4 has already performed five flights, in which it landed successfully along with the capsule. These tests have given Blue Origin and the FAA confidence to fly humans on this booster.