WASHINGTON - A Blue Origin crew capsule carrying cargo to the edge of space aborted from its New Shepard rocket booster on Monday shortly after lift-off from Texas, escaping what appeared to be a malfunction near the rocket's engine section, a company live stream showed.
No humans were on board the capsule, which sat atop the company's suborbital New Shepard rocket loaded with National Aeronautics and Space Administration-funded research payloads and other cargo that were expected to float in microgravity for a few minutes some 100km above ground.
But a minute after lift-off and roughly 8km above ground, the New Shepard booster's engines flared, triggering the capsule's abort motor system that jetted the spacecraft away from its rocket before parachuting back to land intact.
"We're responding to an issue this morning at our Launch Site One location in West Texas," Blue Origin tweeted, adding that the capsule's abort system "functioned as designed".
The flight was the 23rd New Shepard mission by Blue Origin, the space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos. REUTERS