Blue Origin might delay flying people until 2020

Blue Origin capsule
A mockup of the crew capsule for Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceship is laid out at the Aria Resort Hotel in Las Vegas for the re:MARS conference in June. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is laying plans for two more uncrewed tests of its New Shepard suborbital spaceship, but may have to delay its plans to put people on board until next year, CNBC reported.

The potential for shifting the start of test flights with people came up on Sept. 24 when Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith met with reporters in Washington, D.C.

Blue Origin, which is headquartered in Kent, Wash., has filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission for at least two more New Shepard test flights from its test and launch facility in West Texas. These would be the 12th and 13th flights of the New Shepard test program.

On Sept. 24, Blue Origin sought reauthorization of the next test flight for a six-month period running from Nov. 1 to next May. The existing authorization is set to expire on Dec. 1, which suggests that the company wants to reserve more time to prepare for the test.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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