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Blue Origin delays next flight over technical issues


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WASHINGTON (AFP) – Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin said it would push back the launch of its fifth crewed rocket, originally scheduled for Friday, over technical issues.

“During our final vehicle check-outs, we observed one of New Shepard’s back-up systems was not meeting our expectations for performance,” the company said in a statement Wednesday, referring to its suborbital spaceship.

“In an abundance of caution, we will be delaying the NS-21 launch,” it continued, adding there would be further updates.

Blue Origin is a leading player in the nascent space tourism market, offering passengers a roughly ten minute hop from its base in west Texas to just beyond the atmosphere, and back again.

Ticket prices are a closely guarded secret.

The fifth flight is to include engineer Katya Echazarreta, who at 26 is set to become the youngest American woman in space.

Her spot was sponsored by the “Space for Humanity” program, which seeks to democratize access to space and selected her from among 7,000 candidates.

Blue flew its founder Bezos in its maiden crewed flight in July 2021, and has also flown Star Trek icon William Shatner and Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of the first American in space.

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