The launch of the New Shepherd mission today did not go as planned since it aborted due to a “mid-flight anomaly,” but there is no better way to test a launch abort mechanism.
The unmanned capsule carrying a science and research payload turned on its abort engine as the rocket was about 8.5 kilometers (27,800 feet) above the ground, and it then flew away to safety. The mission was the ninth for this particular reusable rocket and the 23rd flight of the New Shepard from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
The rocket’s Max Q, which is determined by air pressure and rocket velocity and is the point at which the vehicle suffers the maximum dynamic pressure, was reached just as the abort system began to function.
“It seems that there was a problem with the flight today. Our crew capsule was able to successfully evacuate, however, this was unexpected and we don’t yet know the specifics, Erica Wagner announced during the launch’s live broadcast.
While the launch was unsuccessful, it is very encouraging that the crew capsule was able to simply and effectively detach before returning to Earth, even if there were no people aboard this time.
Blue Origin tweeted, “The capsule escape system worked as intended. There is no better test than that.