Space X Competitor, Blue Origin Aborts Test Flight at 45,000 Feet

Rocket-thumb-600x400-138687

Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, and one of the contenders in the race to launch a commercial space-flight industry, suffered an in-flight failure last week that resulted in its craft being purposely destroyed by ground controllers. The purpose of the test was not revealed.


The company is planning to launch suborbital missions in a rocket that takes off and lands vertically. Until last week, however, the pill-shaped craft had only performed short hops to test its ability to take off and land vertically while remaining stable and controllable.

The rocket lifted off from the firm's remote spaceport in west Texas and reached a speed of Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 14 kilometres (45,000 feet) before trouble struck. At that height the craft adopted a trajectory that could have taken it over populated areas, so its engines were switched off, allowing it to drop to the ground. The company is analyzing the debris in a bid to determine the cause.

"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily