WASHINGTON | The Blue Origin rocket launcher crashed shortly after takeoff Monday in West Texas, Jeff Bezos' company said, adding that the capsule was able to separate from the rest of the rocket.
“Launcher malfunction during unmanned flight today,” the company first announced, later stating that the capsule's ejection system worked as expected.< /p>
“There were no injuries,” Blue Origin said.
A video shows, about a minute after takeoff, the capsule activating its emergency engines and ejecting from the main launcher at full speed, then, accompanied by parachutes, its hard landing.
The video does not does not show what has become of the launcher, the company writing that he “fell to the ground”, while in the event of success he must return to land upright, gently.
The capsule, unmanned, carried only research equipment for this mission entitled “New Shepard 23”.
The American civil aviation regulator, the FAA, has announced that it has blocked any further takeoff of this rocket while the investigation is ongoing.
“The capsule landed safely and the launcher touched down in the hazard zone,” the federal agency wrote.
This was the 23rd mission for the company, the first to end in failure. It is a blow for the space tourism company led by the founder of Amazon.
Jeff Bezos had himself participated in the first manned flight of New Shepard in July 2021. Since then, the machine carried around thirty people, including the actor playing the emblematic Captain Kirk of the Star Trek series, William Shatner.
In early August, the company had successfully sent the first Egyptian and the first Portuguese in space, an experience of a few minutes in weightlessness.
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