Jeff Bezos‘ rocket company, Blue Origin, has suffered its first major failure during the launch of its New Shepard rocket, a spacecraft designed for space tourism. The incident that took place in West Texas was the first failure for Blue Origin since it turned its focus toward commercial flights. The only relief was the fact that the spacecraft was not carrying any passenger when the incident occured.

Although no detail was revealed about what was the exact thing that caused the failure, the spacecraft suffered an engine issue that prompted the automatic abort program to kick in soon after the launch. 

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The launch was being livestreamed, and during the same, Senior Director for Emerging Space Markets, Erika Wagner, said that the Blue Origin crew capsule was “able to escape successfully”. 

Wagner later referred to the way the crew capsule was able to detach itself from the rocket and make a safe landing, saying, “Safety is our highest value at Blue Origin.”

Here’s a look at how the crew capsule landed after the malfunction:

This was the first time that the New Shepard booster has suffered such a failure. It had earlier gone through a single partial failure during a test.

It was Bezos himself who was the first person to fly to space in a New Shepard aircraft. The flight, on July 20, 2021,  was for a 10-minute and 10-second duration. 

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Bezos has often been criticized for launching a commercial spacecraft company. Some believe that this is harmful to the environment and that the billionaire tycoon is just catering to the super-rich with this new business.

In an interview with CNBC, Bezos responded to the criticism, saying that “We need to take all heavy industry, all polluting industry and move it into space, and keep Earth as this beautiful gem of a planet that it is”.