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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin suffers rocket failure during an uncrewed mission

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin suffers rocket failure during an uncrewed mission
(Image Courtesy: Blue Origin)

According to the company and a live video feed of the mission, a rocket from Jeff Bezos‘ space company Blue Origin failed mid-flight shortly after liftoff on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at 9:01 am CDT/14:01 UTC/7:31 pm IST, aborting its cargo capsule to safety before falling into the Texas desert.

As the 23rd New Shepard mission for Blue Origin, the rocket lifted off from the company’s West Texas launch facility on Monday morning. The mission’s objective was to carry NASA-funded experiments and other payloads to the edge of space so they could float for a few minutes in microgravity.

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However, less than a minute after liftoff, at a height of around 8.05.km (5.05 miles), the New Shepard booster’s engines flared suddenly. An instant initiation of the capsule’s abort motor system pushed the craft away from the faulty rocket before it parachuted back to land safely.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which supervises and controls the security of launch sites, claims that the booster crashed within a specified hazard area. Until the FAA approves the outcomes of a company-led inquiry into the accident, Blue Origin’s fleet of New Shepard rockets is grounded, the agency added.

The NS-23 mission, the fourth of 2022, was the first New Shepard launch with no humans aboard in a year. Blue Origin uses the rocket-capsule system to transport paying customers into suborbital space for a short amount of time in microgravity before their capsule falls to land using a parachute. To date, 31 people have been transported in this way.

The founder, executive chairman, and former president and CEO of Amazon, billionaire Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, was one of the first people to board New Shepard on its first crewed trip in 2021.

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It was unclear right away whether the eight previous flights of the rocket that crashed on Monday involved any human beings. Before its first crewed flight, Blue Origin completed 15 flights of New Shepard.

“During today’s flight, the capsule escape system successfully separated the capsule from the booster,” Blue Origin tweeted after the mishap. “The booster impacted the ground. There are no reported injuries; all personnel have been accounted for.”

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