Even though Blue Origin is locked in a legal dispute with NASA over the Artemis lunar lander contract, Jeff Bezos' rocket firm plans its next flight. New Shepard will launch early on August 25 for its 17th mission, with NASA Moon technology clinging onto the rocket's exterior.
Space.com said that the uncrewed mission is set to launch on August 25 at 9:35 a.m. EDT (8:35 a.m. local time) from Blue Origin's West Texas launch facility. This year, it will be the vehicle's eighth flight and the program's fourth Blue Origin mission.
Blue Origin To Test Navigation Doppler Lidar and the Descent Landing Computer
Slash Gear said that the NASA lunar landing technology will fly for the second time as part of Blue Origin's Tipping Point collaboration with NASA. The cargo aboard the NS-17 is intended to put the Navigation Doppler Lidar and the Descent Landing Computer capabilities to the test.
They are the technologies that will aid NASA astronauts in determining a spacecraft's position and acceleration as it lands on the Moon's surface. Future expeditions, whether crewed or robotic, should be able to access a wider range of prospective landing locations with such technologies onboard. These new technologies, for example, may open up the type of crater-punctuated landscape that prevented the Apollo missions from descending.
The tech demonstration was initially flown by Blue Origin in October of last year, marking the first time a payload was placed outside a New Shepard rocket.
What Will Blue Origin Bring to Space?
According to the same Slash Gear report, the Modal Propellant Gauging Experiment at Carthage College seeks to show a novel method of determining how much fuel remains in spaceship tanks, even in microgravity.
The Liquid Acquisition Device (LAD-3) of the Southwest Research Institute investigates how liquid/vapor interactions operate in microgravity. This may also be used for the storage and management of propellants. It is the experiment's third flight, and it has been tweaked after former flights to look at bubble movement.
Meanwhile, NASA's Kennedy Space Center helped Blue Origin place the OSCAR (Orbital Syngas / Commodity Augmentation Reactor) onboard NS-17. OSCAR, a second experiment that flew on NS-12, focuses on how spaceflight waste may be converted into more useful resources. For example, trash may be turned into steam or oxygen.
The fourth major experiment onboard NS-17 is the University of Florida's Biological Imaging in Support of Suborbital Science. It will conduct more precise biological research using FLEX fluorescence imaging to take advantage of suborbital circumstances.
Finally, and perhaps most unusually, New Shepard's most stunning payload has nothing to do with science. Suborbital Tryptych, on the other hand, is a work of art by Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo. Blue Origin officials said in an NS-17 mission description that the work consisted of three portraits "painted on the top of the crew capsule on the main [para]chute covers."
Space.com said that the artwork is under the Uplift Aerospace's Uplift Art Program. It strives to encourage new ideas and stimulate discussion by making space accessible and related to the human experience.
Blue Origin's Space Tourism Competitor
Virgin Galactic, which launched its first fully crewed suborbital trip last month, is Blue Origin's primary opponent in the suborbital space tourism sector. Virgin Galactic operates a six-passenger, two-pilot spacecraft that takes off from a runway beneath the wings of a carrier aircraft and returns to the runway at the end of each flight. On the other hand, New Shepard is entirely automated, and both of its components return to Earth via parachutes.
Seats on Virgin Galactic's spacecraft are being sold for $450,000 each, Science Times said. The cost of a ride on New Shepard has yet to be disclosed by Blue Origin.
Jeff Bezos' firm, on the other hand, has not had the best of luck. Science Times said that Blue Origin filed a formal protest over how the Artemis Moon Landing contract was awarded after being passed over in favor of SpaceX. After that complaint was dismissed, Blue Origin decided to sue NASA instead, and the case is currently pending.
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