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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin suffers rocket failure during uncrewed NS-23 mission

Without any humans on board, the rocket lifted off from Blue Origin's West Texas launch site as the company's 23rd New Shepard mission, aiming to send NASA-funded experiments and other payloads to the edge of space to float for a few minutes in microgravity. The booster crashed within a designated hazard area, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees and regulates launchsite safety. 

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin suffers rocket failure during uncrewed NS 23 mission gcw
First Published Sep 13, 2022, 12:15 PM IST

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin suffered a setback with its New Shepard mission - NS-23. Although the rocket on the payload-only NS-23 mission failed, the capsule escape system worked as intended, according to the corporation. Due to weather, the NS-23 launch had to be postponed twice—once on August 31 and again on September 1. The launch took place from Launch Site One at the Corn Ranch property owned by Blue Origin close to Van Horn, Texas.

As reported by NASASpaceflight, the capsule "aborted midflight little over a minute into the flight due to what seemed to be a rocket failure. The capsule was propelled to safety by its abort motor and achieved a successful landing under parachutes, but the booster could not be retrieved."

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The NS-23 mission of the privately financed aerospace firm carried 36 payloads from academic institutions, research centres, and students. The firm said, "Two of the payloads will be exposed to the atmosphere of space by flying outside the New Shepard launcher. NASA is the primary sponsor of 18 of the payloads on this voyage, principally through the Flight Opportunities programme."

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The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR), the SHAD Canada STEM Foundation, and other STEM-focused organisations contributed 24 payloads to the project. This was the ninth mission for the New Shepard vehicle, which is used to launch science and research payloads into orbit. It was the fourth flight for the New Shepard programme this year and the first dedicated payload flight since NS-17 in August 2021. The New Shepard programme has sent 31 people into space so far.

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