After a Blue Origin rocket explodes, her spacecraft makes a thrilling escape

Zoom / The Emergency Escape System was seen firing at the New Shepard spacecraft Monday morning after losing its rocket.

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An anomaly occurred during an unmanned flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch system Monday morning.

When the mission carrying thirty scientific payloads ascended to about 9000 meters, the New Shepard’s solid-rocket-engine escape system suddenly fired the New Shepherd capsule, pulling the capsule safely away from the rocket. This happened 1 minute and 4 seconds after launch.

Blue Origin webcast This anomaly was not explained, but the missile’s flight termination system appears to have been activated. This happened after the rocket had passed through max Q, the point at which the vehicle experiences maximum dynamic pressure during ascent, and the BE-3 rocket’s engine was throttled again to continue climbing on its suborbital trajectory. Suddenly, there was an unusually large fire shaft from the rocket engine, and the escape engine on board the spacecraft was launched.

This was the ninth flight of this booster, and it’s half of the launch system that also includes a capsule. The emergency escape system was implemented as intended, quickly pulling the spacecraft away from an exploding missile. Had a crew been on this flight, they would have experienced a major shock and some high gravitational forces before landing safely in the West Texas desert.

“Safety is our highest value at Blue Origin,” said Erica Wagner, senior director of Emerging Space Markets for the company and lead commentator for webcasting. “That’s why we’ve built a lot of redundancy into the system.”

This is the first anomaly of the New Shepard program since its first flight on April 29, 2015. That mission saw a symbolic flight, and the spacecraft landed safely in West Texas. But the missile crashed. Since then, Blue Origin has completed 20 successful spaceflights and landings, respectively, returning both its boosters and its spacecraft safely.

These include six human spaceflights, dating back to July 20, 2021, and the inaugural spaceflight that carried Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. The company had already completed three human spaceflights this year before Monday’s anomaly, with plans for up to three more before the end of the year. New Shepard is now likely to be sidelined for some time as enhanced anomalies are diagnosed, repaired, and tested.

Blue Origin has assigned different but similar spacecraft for suborbital science missions and human spaceflight. RSS feed HG Wells Made a trip on Monday. The company used a newer modified passenger spacecraft, RSS The first stepfor human flights.

The company’s first booster, Booster 1, was lost during an April 2015 flight. Booster 2 was discontinued in October 2016 after a successful test of the launch escape system on its fifth and final flight. The Booster 3, which launched a mission on Monday, was the company’s oldest operational rocket, debuting in December 2017. The company has used its latest rocket, Booster 4, exclusively for human launches. Contains some modifications from Booster 3 to qualify it as a human rated missile.