Flagship space tourism capsule by Blue Origin’s has been grounded for six months due to an “anomaly” in September 2022. The New Shepard rocket program have continued the investigation since the incident happened, and the reasons of the malfunction are still unknown. The chief architect of the rocket, Gary Lai, has said that they fully intend to be back in business as soon as their preparations are complete.
Blue Origin stressed on the apparent malfunction which did show that The escape mechanisms worked as planned. The Blue Origin rocket’s first-phase booster, which had a feature to be reusable, but was lost in the incident. Blue Origin’s suborbital tourism goals seem optimistic even when its tourism crew capsule is still grounded.
The company has not been able to provide any specific timelines or plans for when they will fix the situation. The New Shepard crew rocket launch had a few experiments aboard, but thankfully no people. Blue Origin has been funding heavily in its space tourism initiative, which they hope will eventually be a significant revenue source.
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The situation is a setback for the company, which has persistently been trying to compete with rivals like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic in the space tourism market. Even if Blue Origin’s reputation has taken a hit following the incident, it remains to be seen how it will affect their overall business going forward. The incident brings up the risks involved in space tourism and the essential need for companies to ensure the safety of their crew and passengers.