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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to return to space after six-month break

Eight NASA-backed experiments are set to make a quick trip and return to Earth aboard the company's New Shepard rocket.


Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket ready for launch in Texas, backed by a starry sky.

Blue Origin

After a number of delays, Blue Origin is hoping to get back to space as soon as Wednesday with its first launch in six months.

The rocket company owned by Jeff Bezos plans to send its New Shepard rocket carrying eight NASA-sponsored research projects to spend some brief time in microgravity before coming back down.

The payloads include experiments to study things like Earth's electromagnetic field, measuring fuel levels using sound waves and ways to keep tightly packed electronics cool. The full list of projects can be found on Blue Origin's website.

The launch was originally set for December, but got scrubbed due to "a ground infrastructure issue." After fixing the issue and reviewing other systems, lift-off was rescheduled for Monday, but forecast high winds pushed the mission again to Wednesday. 

By midday Tuesday, Blue Origin was reporting that weather looked good for a planned blastoff at 8:50 a.m. Central Time Wednesday from its west Texas launch facility. The whole thing will be live-streamed via Blue Origin's website.

This will be the 10th mission for New Shepard, which is sort of like a smaller version of the reusable Falcon 9 rocket that is the workhorse for Elon Musk's SpaceX. 

But Blue Origin has plans for a larger, orbital-class rocket to compete more directly with SpaceX for commercial missions launching satellites and other heavier payloads. Last week, the company shared this new video animation of a New Glenn mission. It hopes the first such launch will take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 2021.