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“Year of Hopes and Fears: Blue Origin’s Return to Flight After 2019 Setback

Blue Origin, the Amazon-backed aerospace company known for its ambitious goals, has announced its plans to return to flight more than one year after a rocket failure during an uncrewed test mission. Founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company based in Kent, Washington. The company is working towards providing access to space travel to everyone, with a vision of ultimately offering point-to-point travel on Earth with reusable rocket vehicles. In July 2019, the company experienced a major setback when its New Shepard vehicle failed during a test launch. During the mission, the vehicle experienced an anomaly during takeoff that caused its booster rocket engine to shut down prematurely. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities in the incident. More than a year later, Blue Origin has announced it will return to flight with a successful test launch of the New Shepard. The company has stated that there were no major changes made to the design of the rocket following the failure, but the company did implement a number of additional safety measures for the upcoming launch. This week’s test launch will be special, as it marks not just the return to flight for Blue Origin, but also its first mission with a passenger on board. While the passenger is not a human, Blue Origin’s St. John memento will be aboard the launch. The memento will contain “some of the most valued items in the history of mankind that are held by humans,” according to Blue Origin’s website. The launch is scheduled for the morning of Oct. 18 and will be launched from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site. Despite the long delay, Blue Origin remains confident in its return to flight and aims to provide reliable access to space for everyone.