The cause of the New Shepard accident is called engine wear

Blue Origin has completed an investigation into the accident of the New Shepard suborbital spacecraft. Experts came to the conclusion that its cause was excessive wear of the engine nozzle.

New Shepard Accident

The New Shepard accident occurred on September 13, 2022, during the NS-23 mission. It was an unmanned flight. The spacecraft carried 36 payloads provided by various commercial customers.

New Shepard accident. Source: Blue Origin

New Shepard successfully broke away from the starting table and began to ascend. But at the 65th second of the flight, when the spacecraft was preparing to overcome the sound barrier, there was a malfunction of the engine. As a result, the automation activated the emergency rescue system. It separated the capsule of the spacecraft, after which it made a soft landing on parachutes. As for the accelerator, it crashed.

Causes of the accident

After studying the telemetry and wreckage of the spacecraft, Blue Origin experts came to the conclusion that the cause of the accident was the destruction of the nozzle of the BE-3PM engine installed on the accelerator. It was caused by the fact that the operating temperature of the power unit was higher than the design parameters. This led to structural wear of the nozzle. During the ninth flight of the accelerator, its material could not withstand the loads, which led to a violation of the engine operation mode.

New Shepard launch. Source: Blue Origin

According to a statement from Blue Origin, the company intends to change the design of the nozzle and the design of the combustion chamber, as well as adjust some of the operating parameters of the BE-3PM. This is to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

Currently, Blue Origin is actively working on the resumption of New Shepard flights. During its next mission, it intends to re-launch the payload that did not reach space during the NS-23 mission. Then a manned flight will follow. It is known that the company is working to launch the New Shepard with an exclusively female crew.

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