Bezos’ Blue Origin Suffers From Missile Failure During Unmanned Mission


A rocket from Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin failed in flight shortly after launch on Monday, bringing the cargo capsule to safety before crashing into the Texas desert, according to the company and a live video stream of the mission.

With no people on board, the rocket lifted off Monday morning from Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas as the company’s 23rd New Shepard mission, aiming to send NASA-funded experiments and other payloads to the edge of space. floating in microgravity for a few minutes.

But just over a minute after launch, and about 8.05 km above the ground, the New Shepard booster’s engines unexpectedly flared up during takeoff. The capsule-breakdown motor system was activated almost immediately, blasting the craft away from the malfunctioning missile before parachuting back to land intact.

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The booster crashed into a designated danger zone, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees and regulates the safety of the launch site. Blue Origin’s fleet of New Shepard missiles is grounded until the FAA agrees to the outcome of a company-led investigation into the accident, the agency added.

“During today’s flight, the capsule escape system successfully separated the capsule from the booster,” Blue Origin tweeted after the accident. “The booster hit the ground. There are no reported injuries; all staff are accountable.”

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The mission, dubbed NS-23, was New Shepard’s first launch without people on board in over a year, and its fourth mission in 2022. The missile capsule system has flown a total of 31 people under Blue Origin’s sub-orbital space tourism operations, in which paying customers are launched some 62 miles high for a few minutes of microgravity at the edge of space before their capsule returns to land under parachutes.

Billionaire Bezos, the founder of Inc. which Blue Origin started in 2000, was one of the first passengers to fly with New Shepard on its debut manned mission in 2021.

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The rocket that crashed Monday had flown eight times before, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether those past missions included humans. Blue Origin flew New Shepard 15 times for its first manned flight.

Photo: In this May 9, 2019 file photo, Jeff Bezos speaks in front of a model of Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander in Washington. (TBEN Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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