Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos-founded rocket company, remains grounded despite the FAA closing its investigation into a rocket explosion last September.
The company’s New Shepherd spacecraft had a catastrophic failure in its first-stage booster 65 seconds after launch from its pad in Texas.
The good news is that the rocket carried no passengers.
The better news is that the capsule’s safety protocols worked as planned and the rocket’s payload was brought down under a parachute safely.
But the accident led the company to ground flights and began a yearlong investigation with the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, and NASA.
The FAA announced its findings in a release that stated, “The final report cites the proximate cause of the Sept. 12, 2022 mishap as the structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher-than-expected engine operating temperatures.”
The New Shepherd rocket is a sub-orbital rocket to take paid passengers into space.
Similar to Elon Musk’s Space X, Bezos and team designed the rocket to be reusable, with the expended stages returning to their pads safely after pushing their payload into space.
NASA began using the New Shepherd to launch suborbital payloads into space.
It was one of these launches during which the failure occurred.
Several notable celebrities including Jeff Bezos, William Shatner, and Michael Strahan took rides into space before the New Shepherd was grounded in September 2022.
While the company continues to work on the fix related to the booster, there is no announcement yet on when flights will resume.