New Shepard Rocket Systems Malfunction Detected: Blue Origin’s 5th flight postponed

Jeff Bezos’ space tourism company Blue Origin has postponed its fifth launch with passengers. The next flight was scheduled for Friday, May 20, but one of the backup systems of the New Shepard rocket failed.

Jeff Bezos on the background of the New Shepard capsule. Photo: Analmy

Blue Origin said that tests on the eve of the flight on May 18 showed that one of the rocket’s backup systems was not working properly, as engineers expected, which carries potential risks for the flight. As a result, the mission had to be postponed until the failure was fixed.

The fourth Blue Origin flight was successfully conducted in March 2022 in West Texas. Six passengers went on that suborbital flight to the edge of space. A suborbital walk with a short-term feeling of weightlessness lasts about 10 minutes from takeoff to landing. During this time, the rocket reaches the height of the Pocket line – just over 100 km. At the moment of reaching the highest point, passengers feel weightless for a few moments before descending back to Earth to land with a parachute.

Blue Origin Rocket Launch

Several companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, are striving to make space travel a reality. However, even Bezos’ competitor, Virgin Galactic, had all launches in 2023 postponed altogether due to “supply chain and labor constraints”. 

Currently, a seat on board the VSS Unity space plane from Virgin Galactic costs 450 thousand dollars. At the same time, a ticket for a shorter, but 20 kilometers higher flight from Blue Origin costs USD 28 million, as actor Tom Hanks admitted.

According to Reuters

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