Blue Origin resets schedule: First crew to space in 2019, first orbital launch in 2021

Space

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith shows a video of a BE-4 rocket engine firing during the Aerospace Futures Alliance Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is now planning to send its first crew on a suborbital space trip during the first half of 2019, and launch its first orbital-class New Glenn rocket in 2021.

That’s the word from Bob Smith, CEO of the Kent, Wash.-based company, who spoke here today at the Aerospace Futures Alliance Summit.

The schedule represents a slight shift to the right for Blue Origin’s development plan, which had been targeting this year for the first crewed flight of its New Shepard suborbital spaceship and 2020 for New Glenn’s first flight. That’s not totally unexpected, considering the challenges involved.

Even that schedule is ambitious. “We’ve got a lot of work on our hands,” Smith told the audience.

Check back for updates in this developing story.

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