Blue Origin ‘Anomaly’ leads to capsule crash

An “anomaly” forced an in-flight capsule abort during a Blue Origin flight out of west Texas on Monday. The New Shepard missile, now grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration, was carrying no people. It’s an earlier version of one that’s been launched six times with people on board. One minute and four seconds into its 10-minute mission, the Blue Origin NS-23’s booster failed. Shortly after an erratic jet of flame erupted from the engine, the abort system engaged and ejected the capsule away from the failing main stage. If you go back and play it very slowly, you’ll see that there are some flashes. When you have these flashes, it usually means there is some type of debris or extra fuel or something is happening,” said Florida Tech’s Paula do Vale Pereira. But the company said the escape system worked as planned. “It’s a launch escape system. A solid rocket motor essentially at the base of this pod fired exactly when needed. And the capsule escaped the rocket that just exploded,” said Ars Technica’s Eric Berger. While there were no people in the capsule, there were 36 science experiment payloads, half funded by NASA. “If there were people on board, they would have gotten a big kick in the pants and felt a few Gs, but they would have been fine,” Berger said. Three more New Shepard passenger missions are planned for this year. “Despite these companies trying to move toward airline-like operations, I think there’s still a long way to go,” Berger said. As a result of Monday’s aborted mission, the FAA grounded the New Shepard. The agency wrote the following in a statement to WESH 2 News: “Before the New Shepard vehicle can return to flight, the FAA will determine whether any system, process or procedure related to the mishap compromised public safety.” This is the standard procedure for all breakdown investigations. Mission NS-23 was delayed three times due to weather. The failed booster is an earlier version than the one designed for missions with people on board. The capsule drifted back to earth under three parachutes, just as it would have come down, even if everything had gone as planned, with reliable flights I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to figure it out without major problems,” said Florida’s Julie Brisset UCF Space Institute. Watch the moment the flight was canceled below

An “anomaly” forced an in-flight capsule abort during a Blue Origin flight out of west Texas on Monday.

The New Shepard missile, now grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration, was carrying no people. It’s an earlier version of one that’s been launched six times with people on board.

One minute and four seconds into its 10-minute mission, the Blue Origin NS-23’s booster failed.

Moments after an erratic jet of flame erupted from the engine, the abort system engaged and ejected the capsule away from the failed main stage.

“If you go back and play it very slowly, you see that there are some flashes. When you have these flashes, it usually means there is some type of debris or extra fuel or something is happening,” said Florida Tech’s Paula do Vale Pereira.

But the company said the escape system worked as planned.

“It’s a start-escape system. A solid rocket motor essentially at the base of this pod fired exactly when needed. And the capsule escaped the rocket that just exploded,” said Ars Technica’s Eric Berger.

While there were no people in the capsule, there were 36 scientific experiment payloads, half funded by NASA.

“If people had been on board, they would have gotten a big kick in their pants and felt a few Gs, but they would have been fine,” Berger said.

Three more New Shepard passenger missions are planned for this year.

“Despite these companies trying to move towards airline-like operations, I think there’s still a long way to go,” Berger said.

As a result of Monday’s aborted mission, the FAA retired the New Shepard.

The agency wrote in a statement to WESH 2 News: “Before the New Shepard vehicle can return to flight, the FAA will determine whether any system, process or procedure related to the mishap compromised public safety.”

This is standard practice for all breakdown investigations.

Mission NS-23 was delayed three times due to weather. The failed booster is an earlier version than the one designed for missions with people on board.

The pod drifted back to earth under three parachutes, just as it would have come down had everything gone as planned.

“Given their history of regular and reliable flights, I’m pretty sure they can figure it out without too much trouble,” said Julie Brisset of UCF’s Florida Space Institute.

Watch the moment the flight was canceled below

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