Artist Amoako Boafo holds up one of the portraits that will fly on top of Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew capsule. (Uplift Aerospace Photo)
A little more than a month after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took a rocket ride, his Blue Origin space venture is sending another New Shepard suborbital spaceship to the final frontier — but this time the high-profile payloads are paintings, not people.
Blue Origin’s 17th New Shepard mission is set for liftoff from the company’s suborbital spaceport in West Texas at 8:35 a.m. CT (6:35 a.m. PT) on Thursday, although the flight could always be delayed due to weather or technical issues.
The reusable vehicle that Bezos and three crewmates rode last month was optimized to fly passengers, but the spaceship for Thursday’s flight is optimized to carry research payloads instead. No humans will be riding along during what’s expected to be this particular rocket ship’s eighth suborbital outing.
You can watch the countdown on Blue Origin’s website or on YouTube, with coverage beginning a half-hour before launch.
If all goes according to plan, the flight should follow the standard profile for New Shepard: The hydrogen-fueled booster will push the capsule to a height beyond the ...