Oops. Bring on the “I told you so’s.” One of the test vehicles for commercial crew that gets NASA out of the crew-lifting business is toast.
From the Wall Street Journal-
An unmanned spaceship funded by Internet billionaire Jeff Bezos veered out of control and had to be destroyed during a recent test flight, highlighting the dramatic risks of private space ventures.
The spacecraft, developed by closely held Blue Origin LLC, was on a suborbital flight from the company’s West Texas spaceport last week when it started to go off course and ground personnel lost normal contact with the vehicle. Investigators are looking at remnants of the craft recovered on the ground to determine the cause.
After The Wall Street Journal reported on the failure, Blue Origin Friday posted a brief note on its website stating the spacecraft, while going faster than the speed of sound, suffered a “flight instability” at an altitude of 45,000 feet and the company’s automated “range safety system” shut off all thrust and led to its destruction. The problem appeared to stem from thrusters that didn’t respond properly to the initial commands, according to one industry official.
The note, signed by Mr. Bezos, said it was “not the outcome any of us wanted,” but “we’re signed up for this to be hard.”