Blue Origin Confirms Loss of Experimental Vehicle

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Blue Origin test vehicle at mach 1.2 and 14 meters, right before the anomaly which terminated the flight (Source: Blue Origin).

Private space company Blue Origin reported on their website about the loss of their experimental vehicle in Speptember 2 update signed by founder Jeff Bezos. According to Bezos, the vehicle has been subjected to a flight instability during a developmental test at Mach 1.2 and an altitude of about 14 meters. The event caused the range safety system to terminated thrust on the vehicle, which consequently crashed. “We’re signed up for this to be hard,” commented Bezos “and the Blue Origin team is doing an outstanding job.” The vehicle had just performed a “short hop mission” three months ago. The company, which is already working to replace the lost vehicle, has released some pictures of the experimental craft.

Blue Origin is a private space company, founded by Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of Amazon.com. The company received a $3.7 million grant from NASA in 2009 under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program to develop concepts and technologies in support of future human spaceflight operations. The company is developing the New Shepard,  a suborbital vehicle controlled entirely by on-board computers, without ground control. The previous test vehicle, the Goddard, preformed its successful first flew on November 13, 2006. According to the official timetable, Blue Origin is planned to fly unmanned in 2011, then manned in 2012.

Blue Origin's Goddard vehicle, photographed before the successful test of November 13, 2006 (Source: Blue Origin).

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Andrea Gini

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Andrea Gini is a content strategy consultant specialized in companies of the space sector. He is founder of Space Safety Magazine, where he held the position of Editor-in-Chief until March 2015. Between 2011 and 2013 he worked in the European Space Agency in the Independent Safety Office, which overviews the utilization of the International Space Station. He previously worked as Software Developer, IT Consultant, and trainer of Java-related technologies. Andrea holds a BSc and an MSc in computer science from the University of Milano, a Master in Communication of Science from the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste and a MSc in Space Studies from the International Space University.

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