An uncrewed Blue Origin rocket crashed shortly after liftoff on Monday.s in western Texas, southern United States, said the space company of Jeff Bezoswhich specified that the capsule was able to separate from the rest of the launcher.
It is a blow to the company and the space tourism sector in which there is strong competition, despite the fact that observers point out that potential passengers would probably have survived the accident.
A video published by the company shows, about a minute after liftoff, the capsule activating its emergency engines and separating from the main launcher at full speed. He is then seen landing with a parachute.
The video does not show what happened to the launcher that “fell to the ground,” the company wrote, and that if successful it should have returned and landed gently on its feet.
“Launcher malfunction during today’s unmanned flight,” the company first announced, before specifying that the capsule’s ejection system did work as expected.
“There were no injuries,” Blue Origin said. The unmanned capsule carried only research material for the mission called “New Shepard 23”. The US civil aviation regulator (FAA) announced the blocking of any new takeoff while an investigation is carried out.
“The capsule landed safely while the launcher fell to the ground in the designated risk zone,” the federal agency wrote.
This was the company’s 23rd mission and the first to end in an incident. But the billionaire jared isaacmanat the head of organized space missions with the competition SpaceXstressed that “the takeoff safety system worked well.”
“With so many launches of (rockets), engines and launchers under development in the sector, such an event should come as no surprise,” he said. For a long time reserved for the states, space competition has been open for several years to different private companies in the United States.
In addition to Blue Origin, there is SpaceX, run by Elon Musk and working with NASA, as well as Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin’s main competitor in the suborbital flight sectorbut which has been on pause since its founder, Richard Branson, flew in July 2021.
Jeff Bezos himself had participated in Blue Origin’s first manned New Shepard flight in July 2021. Since then the ship has transported around thirty people, including the actor of the emblematic fictional series Star Trek, William Shatner.
At the beginning of August, the company successfully sent the first Egyptian and the first Portuguese into space in an experience of only a few minutes in weightlessness.
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