WASHINGTON — Blue Origin is gearing up for the next test flight of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle as soon as Jan. 14.
Temporary flight restrictions published by the Federal Aviation Administration Jan. 12 will close airspace above Blue Origin’s West Texas test site from Jan. 14 through Jan. 17, from 9:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern each day. Such airspace closures in the past have been linked to test flights of the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle.
Blue Origin has yet to announce plans to conduct a test flight. A company source, speaking on background, confirmed the company was planning a New Shepard flight as soon as Jan. 14, but offered no other details about the flight.
The company has promoted recent New Shepard test flights in advance, including highlighting research payloads the vehicle was carrying, such as those provided through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. NASA hasn’t announced any imminent flights of payloads on New Shepard.
New Shepard last flew Oct. 13 on the NS-13 mission, carrying a number of research and technology demonstration payloads. That was the first flight of the vehicle since December 2019.
There is speculation the upcoming launch could be the first of a new ...