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Blue Origin says an overheated engine half induced final 12 months’s cargo rocket failure

The second of the anomaly through the New Shepard cargo mission NS-23, by which the booster’s engine failed.

Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos’ area firm Blue Origin launched findings from an investigation into the failed flight of a cargo mission final 12 months, which it says was because of a problem within the rocket’s engine nozzle.

The corporate’s New Shepard rocket, flying the NS-23 mission carrying science and analysis payloads, suffered a failure in September 2022. No folks had been onboard, and Blue Origin says its capsule’s emergency escape system functioned correctly, however the rocket’s reusable booster was destroyed.

Bezos’ firm had beforehand mentioned little about its investigation over the previous six months, which was performed with Federal Aviation Administration oversight. For its half, the FAA informed CNBC that the regulator’s “mishap” investigation “stays open.”

“The company is at present reviewing the corporate’s submission of its mishap report. FAA approval is required to shut the investigation and for the New Shepard System to return to flight,” an FAA spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.

In a weblog submit on Friday, Blue Origin mentioned it recognized “a thermo-structural failure of the engine nozzle” because the direct explanation for the problem, and is now modifying the engine, together with design adjustments to account for higher-than-expected temperatures through the flight.

“Blue Origin expects to return to flight quickly, with a re-flight of the NS-23 payloads,” the corporate mentioned.

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The New Shepard rocket launches from Blue Origin’s personal facility in West Texas, carrying folks and payloads above 100 kilometers — or greater than 340,000 toes — for a pair minutes of weightlessness. The capsule is flown autonomously, with no human pilot, and floats down with the help of a set of parachutes to land within the Texas desert. The New Shepard rocket booster is reusable, returning to land on a concrete pad close to the launch website.

Blue Origin mentioned its investigation discovered that NS-23 flight’s engine failure was because of “operational temperatures that exceeded the anticipated and analyzed values of the nozzle materials.” The corporate recovered fragments of the BE-3PM engine’s nozzle, discovering “clear proof of thermal harm and scorching streaks ensuing from elevated working temperatures.”

The corporate famous that its design adjustments are meant to enhance the engine’s efficiency at excessive temperature, in addition to strengthen the engine’s nozzle.

Space tourism is a niche market, so why are Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and Blue Origin betting on it?

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