The company, “Blue Origin” for Aerospace Industries, announced Friday, March 24, 2023, that it intends to resume its missile flights “soon”, but that this is subject to the acceptance of the results of the investigation into the causes of an accident that it suffered from last year.
The “New Shepard” missile from the “Blue Origin” company owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos is used, especially in space tourism trips from Texas, but at the time of the accident in September 2022, the missile was exclusively on a mission for scientific experiments.
The missile consists of one layer, and at the top is a capsule that carries the charge transported by it.
During the mission, called “NS-23”, the main class suffered from problems that led to the operation of the automatic ejection system for the capsule, which returned to Earth with its movement slowed by parachutes.
Blue Origin said at the time that the main layer “hit the ground”, rather than descending in a controlled manner to be reused as usual.
Since then, an investigation has been conducted under the supervision of the US regulator for the aviation sector to determine the cause of the accident.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said in response to questions from Agence France-Presse that the investigation “remains open” at present, and flights of “New Shepard” missiles cannot be resumed until after the investigation is formally closed. “The agency is currently evaluating the company’s accident report,” she added.
However, the “Blue Origin” company published Friday the conclusions of the investigation, indicating that the malfunction was caused by a “thermal structural” problem at the level of the engine nozzle (the channel through which gases are expelled during combustion), which led to an “imbalance” in the settings during the propulsion process. .
Specifically, the investigation concluded that this engine component was exposed to higher than expected temperatures. The company stated that “design changes” were made to many elements that would prevent this problem from occurring in the future.
Blue Origin said it wanted to resume flights “soon” by restarting the NS-23 mission, with the same scientific cargo remaining intact.
The company pointed out that the aforementioned shipment “landed safely” in the aftermath of the accident, thanks to the ejection system working “as expected.”
And “Blue Origin” has sent 32 people into space since July 2021, when its president, Jeff Bezos, founder of the Amazon Group, participated in the first flight. During these trips, space tourists remain in a state of weightlessness for only a few minutes.