Blue Origin is pushing back space launch to Thursday — the same day a geomagnetic storm will hit Earth

BLUE Origin has delayed its next launch to a day when astronomers predict the arrival of a geomagnetic storm.

The US company, which is the brainchild of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has postponed the fourth manned flight of its New Shepard vehicle from today to Thursday, March 31.

Blue Origin has delayed its next space launch to Thursday

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Blue Origin has delayed its next space launch to ThursdayCredit: Blue Origin
Ejection of high-energy material captured by a NASA observatory on Monday

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Ejection of high-energy material captured by a NASA observatory on Monday

It cited predicted high winds at the company’s West Texas launch site over the next few days.

“Weather is the only remaining factor for launch,” Blue Origin wrote on Twitter Monday.

While the postponement will save the six-passenger crew from a bumpy ride, there’s another type of storm to consider.

A geomagnetic storm is possible Thursday after a burst of hot material from the Sun, space weather experts say.

Data from NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows that a salvo of radiation known as coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading towards Earth.

The resulting impact on our planet’s magnetic field could not only trigger Northern Lights as far as New York, but also cause problems for astronauts, including passengers on the Blue Origin flight.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, G2 category geomagnetic storms, like the one expected Thursday, “can cause increased biological risk to astronauts or passengers and crew members flying at high latitudes and altitudes.”

Should Blue Origin’s launch coincide with the storm, crew members could be exposed to dangerous solar radiation.

It’s possible that New Shepard’s navigation technology could also be affected, although the impact is unlikely as the storm is rated G2, meaning it’s classified as “moderate” by NOAA.

Last month, a similarly rated storm knocked over 40 SpaceX satellites out of orbit shortly after they lifted off from Earth.

According to space experts, this week’s storm is expected to shake the Earth’s magnetic field from late Wednesday into the early hours of Thursday.

The launch of Blue Origin is scheduled for Thursday at 9:30 am EDT (2:30 pm BST; 8:30 am local time in Texas).

Should geomagnetic activity pose a risk to the crew, it is likely that the flight will be further delayed.

A Blue Origin spokesman told The Sun: “Blue Origin’s mission control team is monitoring all weather conditions for launch and will only give permission to proceed if conditions are safe to do so.”

It is the second delay in NS-20 in as many weeks.

The mission was originally scheduled for March 23 with a crew of six including comedian Pete Davidson.

Davidson, who is currently dating Kim Kardashian, was forced to step off the flight after the date was pushed back six days for unspecified reasons.

A new sixth crew member was later announced. After this week’s delay, the rocket will now lift off on March 31st.

The space team onboard now consists of Party America CEO Marty Allen, husband and wife team Sharon and Marc Hagle, entrepreneur Jim Kitchen, Blue Origin’s Gary Lai and Dr. George Nield, President of Commercial Space Technologies.

During their 11-minute round trip into space, they experience a few minutes of weightlessness.

New Shepard’s suborbital flights reached about three times the speed of sound – about 2,300 miles per hour – during trips to the edge of space, at an altitude of about 100 km above the Earth’s surface.

The crew reportedly took away a selection of postcards written by children as part of Blue Origin’s Club for the Future program.

The idea is that Bezos’ rocket can take her dreams and desires into space.

The tearful Queen says an emotional goodbye to her beloved husband Philip
Putin

Blue Origin hasn’t disclosed the price of a ticket to fly on its rocket, called the New Shepard, but reported revenue for the company was nearly $100 million last year The New York Times.

While it’s unclear how much of that revenue came from ticket sales, Jeff Bezos told the Times that the company is doing “really well with private sales.”

Blue Origin is the brainchild of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

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Blue Origin is the brainchild of billionaire Amazon founder Jeff BezosPhoto credit: AFP
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8574835/blue-origin-space-launch-thursday-geomagnetic-storm/ Blue Origin is pushing back space launch to Thursday — the same day a geomagnetic storm will hit Earth

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