On Monday, September 12 at 2:27 p.m. GMT, Blue Origin launched his rocket New Shepard to perform the NS-23 mission. However, an anomaly in the booster terminated the flight before the aircraft reached the planned altitude. The capsule, which was passengerless, was able to separate from the launcher and land using parachutes.
The rocket departed from the Blue Origin launch site in West Texas after an hour-long delay, the reasons for which remain unknown. When the machine reached approximately 9,000m altitude, the capsule has activated its emergency evacuation system and separated from the booster. Blue Origin was able to recover the capsule, but the launcher was probably destroyed.
For the moment, the company has not yet provided an explanation of the causes of the technical problem. It will take time to isolate the source of the failure.
The consequences of this failure
The possible effects of this technical problem on future Blue Origin missions are not yet known, as the company uses two different versions of the rocket for manned and unmanned missions. We know, however, that the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration released an official statement saying it would investigate and the company may no longer launch its rockets in the near future.
This anomaly is just the second to occur during a New Shepard launch since 2015. That year, the first stage crashed instead of landing smoothly. However, the capsule was able to reach the planned altitude.
The NS-23 mission
The mission NS-23 was originally scheduled to launch on August 31, then on August 1er september. Bad weather conditions, however, forced officials to postpone it. It was the 23th flight of the New Shepard rocket, and the capsule was not carrying passengers, but had on board 36 payloads. Among these, 18 were funded by NASA.
In a Blue Origin publication posted on August 24, 24 of the payloads were from K-12 schools and science, technology, engineering, and math organizations.
Anyway, let’s wait for the results of the investigation to learn more about the causes of the incident and the measures that will be taken by Blue Origin.