Blue Origin returns to flights after a 15-month break due to a rocket accident

The private space company Blue Origin is “waking up” after a 15-month pause in its space flights, and will carry out a trial launch next week. Founded by Jeff Bezos, the company stopped flights from the moment its New Shepard suborbital system encountered an unexpected anomaly on September 12, 2022, which led to a rocket accident. 

“We’re targeting a launch window that opens on Dec. 18 for our next New Shepard payload mission. #NS24 will carry 33 science and research payloads as well as 38,000 @clubforfuture postcards to space,” Blue Origin announced via the social network X.

New Shepard is a reusable spacecraft consisting of a rocket and capsule, which is used to deliver people and cargo to suborbital space. The rocket has already completed 23 flights, six of which are with a crew of space tourists on board.

In September 2022, the unsuccessful NS-23 research flight took place. 65 seconds after launch, a malfunction occurred with the rocket, from which it fell to the ground. However, the capsule managed to detach and successfully land without damage, leaving the research cargo intact.

The fourth flight of Blue Origin. Photo:

After a joint investigation by Blue Origin and the FAA, the cause of the accident was revealed: a worn-out nozzle on the BE-3PM engine. The FAA agreed with this conclusion. But it requires Blue Origin to perform 21 corrective actions before the next flight, including redesigning engine components and various changes in flight organization. 

It seems that all the necessary measures have already been implemented, as New Shepard returns to the launch site in West Texas. 

Blue Origin is not the only one in this direction. During the break, the competitive Virgin Galactic made six flights with tourists on board. But now it is experiencing financial problems and will stop regular flights in 2024.

Earlier, we reported on how a space tourist shared his impressions of the flight to New Shepard.

According to Space

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