Bezos rocket crashes after liftoff, only experiments aboard

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A rocket crashed back to Earth shortly after liftoff Monday in the first launch accident for Jeff Bezos’ space travel company, but the capsule carrying experiments managed to parachute to safety.

No one was aboard the Blue Origin flight, which used the same kind of rocket as the one that sends paying customers to the edge of space. The rockets are now grounded pending the outcome of an investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The New Shepard rocket was barely a minute into its flight from West Texas when bright yellow flames shot out from around the single engine at the bottom. The capsule’s emergency launch abort system immediately kicked in, lifting the craft off the top. Several minutes later, the capsule parachuted onto the remote desert floor.

The rocket came crashing down, with no injuries or damage reported, said the FAA, which is in charge of public safety during commercial space launches and landings.

Blue Origin’s launch commentary went silent when the capsule catapulted off the rocket Monday morning, eventually announcing: “It appears we’ve experienced an anomaly with today’s flight. This wasn’t planned.”

“Booster failure on today’s uncrewed flight. Escape system performed as designed,” the Kent, Washington-based company tweeted close to an hour later.

The company later said the rocket crashed.

The mishap occurred as the rocket was traveling nearly 700 mph (1,126 kph) at an altitude of about 28,000 feet (8,500 meters). There was no video shown of the rocket — only the capsule — after the failure. It happened around the point the rocket is under the maximum amount of pressure, called max-q.

The rocket usually lands upright on the desert floor and then is recycled for future flights.

The webcast showed the capsule reaching a maximum altitude of more than 37,000 feet (11,300 meters). Thirty-six experiments were on board to be exposed to a few minutes of weightlessness. Half were sponsored by NASA, mostly from students.

It was the 23rd flight for the New Shepard program, named after the first American in space, Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard. It was the ninth flight for this particular rocket-capsule pair, which was dedicated to flying experiments.

Blue Origin’s most recent flight with paying customers was just last month; the ticket price hasn’t been released. Bezos was on the first New Shepard crew last year. Altogether, Blue Origin has carried 31 people on 10-minute flights, including actor William Shatner.

The rocket should have launched nearly two weeks ago, but was grounded until Monday by bad weather.

———

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Source ABC

A tech blog author and superhero who writes about technology and its impact on society, business, and everyday life

Related Posts

Nobel season is here: 5 things to know about the prizes

The beginning of October means Nobel Prize season

Read more

Powerful earthquake shakes Indonesia’s Sumatra, kills 1

A strong and shallow earthquake ha shaken Indonesia’s Sumatra island, killing a resident, injuring 11 and damaging more than a a dozen houses and buildings

Read more

Firefly Aerospace reaches orbit with new Alpha rocket

Firefly Aerospace has reached orbit with its new rocket

Read more

India launches 5G services, Modi calls it step in new era

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched 5G services in India, calling it a “step towards the new era.”

Read more

Tesla robot walks, waves, but doesn’t show off complex tasks

An early prototype of Tesla Inc.’s proposed Optimus humanoid robot slowly and awkwardly walked onto a stage, turned, and waved to a cheering crowd at the company’s artificial intelligence event Friday

Read more

Launch aborted on Firefly’s 2nd attempt with Alpha rocket

A year after its first Alpha rocket had to be destroyed during flight, a new aerospace company has been unsuccessful in its second attempt to place multiple satellites into orbit

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.