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.