Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is promising to keep moving forward with the program despite the loss of its unmanned test spacecraft last week in the skies over West Texas.
“Not the outcome any of us wanted, but we’re signed up for this to be hard, and the Blue Origin team is doing an outstanding job,” writes Bezos in a message on the Blue Origin site, only his second update there in nearly four years. “We’re already working on our next development vehicle.”
Addressing what happened, Bezos writes that the test spacecraft was flying at Mach 1.2, at an altitude of 45,000 feet when a “flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle.”
That led to its destruction.
Bezos notes that last week’s test incident followed a successful flight of the same vehicle three months earlier. The test vehicle doesn’t carry a crew. Bezos explains in his message that the company is “working on the sub-orbital crew capsule separately, as well as an orbital crew vehicle to support NASA’s Commercial Crew program.”
Blue Origin is based in Kent, Wash., south of Seattle.