Bezos spaceship encounters ‘anomaly’

Shortly after its launch from Texas, Blue Origin’s rocket went off the ground.

Blue Origin’s space launch out of Texas on Monday was disastrous. The booster rocket burst shortly after liftoff. No injuries were sustained and three dozen experiments in the capsule that was carrying them all managed to escape the explosion. In the midst of a federal investigation, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has caused delays for its suborbital tourists flights.

About one minute and four seconds into Monday’s launch, the New Shepard booster flared orange and then exploded. Parachutes assisted the chutes to help the capsule at the top fall back from an 8.8km height and touch the ground.

“It appears we’ve experienced an anomaly with today’s flight,” Blue Origin’s Erika Wagner said on the launch livestream after the explosion. “This was unplanned and we do not have any details yet, but our crew capsule was able to escape successfully.”

“We’re responding to an issue this morning at our Launch Site One location in West Texas,”The company tweeted out about an hour later. “This was a payload mission with no astronauts on board. The capsule escape system functioned as designed.”

The mission, NS-23 was carried out “36 payloads from academia, research institutions and students across the globe,”Blue Origin claimed. According to AP, NASA sponsored half of them. Two experiments that were attached to the booster were also destroyed by the blast.

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Oliver Damen, Jeff Bezos, Wally Funk, and Mark Bezos pose in spacesuits before Blue Origin’s inaugural flight near Van Horn, Texas, US, July 2021. © Reuters/Joe Skipper
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This was the ninth launch this booster and capsule. They are slightly different to what Blue Origin uses. “tourist” suborbital trips – the most famous of which took Bezos and actor William Shatner to the boundary of space. 

Blue Origin has already taken 31 passengers aboard New Shepard rockets. The most recent was in August. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), stated that all its rocket launches were grounded while the outcome of an investigation into the explosion is determined.

Monday’s launch was delayed by almost two weeks by bad weather. Blue Origin’s mishap comes about a week after NASA scrubbed the launch of its Artemis 1 lunar mission due to a fuel leak.



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