On Monday, September 12, the suborbital flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule failed. One minute after take-off, the booster malfunctioned which caused the capsule to be ejected immediately. Fortunately, there were no space tourists aboard this flight, just experiments.
The flightNS-23 had already been postponed three times due to a unfavorable. This Monday, the capsule is ready it was supposed to take off at 3:30 pm Paris time but, on several occasions, the countdown had been suspended, without Blue Origin specifying why. The capsule finally takes off at 4:26 pm, from site number 1 of the Blue Origin Corn Ranch in Texas.
The flight profile was that of a suborbital flight: vertical take-off and ascent to an altitude of 100 km, the international limit of space, then descended belowwhile the booster previously detached during the climb had to land to be reused, the capsule is also reused. Their last flight was in August 2021, .
Engine problem and capsule ejection
About 1 minute and 2 seconds after takeoff, the engine propulsion seemed to have a problem and ejected a large flame. Two seconds later, the BE-3 main engine spits another anomalous flame this time. Just a second later, theaboard the New Shepard he decides to eject the capsule for safety by igniting a solid propellant motor, very effective in freeing the capsule from the failed booster on the brink of the explosion.
Blue Origin confirmed that the New Shepard reusable booster – this one at its ninth launch to date – failed during today’s unmanned NS-23 cargo mission.
Here is a slowed down version of the company’s video, showing the anomaly and the capsule cut-off system activating: pic.twitter.com/dwV5v4ljWF
—Michael Sheetz (@thesheetztweetz) September 12, 2022
It is flawless in terms of capsule ejection test in case of an explosion, which can reassure passengers on other arriving flights. During an ejection, they will be shaken for a few seconds, but unharmed. In fact, seven and a half minutes after take-off, the capsule lands peacefully under the parachute.
Blue Origin is live from flight NS-23. The New Shepard takes off at 01:20:50
Fortunately, there were no passengers on board. The flight completed 36 experiments, including some from NASA. It is clear that they will not have benefited from the desired conditions.
The next flight may be delayed compared to Blue Origin’s schedule. The company ofwill now shed some light on this booster failure before re-boarding passengers for his tourist flights, and possibly even doing an unmanned flight sooner. Note, however, that the faulty booster was not qualified for manned flight, unlike the others used by Blue Origin for its passenger flights. Blue Origin has had no problems in the past 20 flights.
We respond to an issue this morning at our Launch Site One location in West Texas. This was a payload mission with no astronauts on board. The capsule escape system worked as expected. More information to come as it becomes available.
– Blue origin (@ blue origin) September 12, 2022