Blue Origin launch aborted mid-flight after uncrewed mission suffers rocket anomaly

The escape system of the spacecraft activated successfully

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Blue Origin aborted an uncrewed mission mid-flight after its rocket booster experienced an anomaly on Monday.

The escape system of the spacecraft was activated after the New Shephard booster experienced an anomaly one-minute into the flight.

No passengers were on board the NS-23 mission, which was carrying only 36 payloads from schools, research institutions and pupils around the world.

“We’re responding to an issue this morning at our Launch Site One location in West Texas,” Blue Origin tweeted shortly after the incident.

“This was a payload mission with no astronauts on board. The capsule escape system functioned as designed. More information to come as it is available.”

A live broadcast of the launch ended early after the incident took place.

The Blue Origin employee narrating the launch said that the escape was “not planned”.

“It appears we’ve experienced an anomaly in today’s flight,” she said before the broadcast ended.

“This wasn’t planned, and we don’t have any details, but our crew capsule was able to escape successfully.”

Even though this was a cargo-only flight, the space tourism company has launched 32 people on its suborbital flights so far.

It is unclear so far what exactly the anomaly was and how it would affect future missions.

Blue Origin’s space tourism flights — ones with passengers on board — offer a 10-minute experience.

Once the spacecraft separates from the booster, it soars 106 kilometres above the ground, bringing the passengers views of Earth against the darkness of space.

The reusable booster lands back at the launch site.

The capsule then descends towards the Texas desert under three parachutes and retro engines, bringing the passengers safely back to the ground.

Updated: September 20, 2022, 12:04 PM