FAA Closes Its Blue Origin Investigation

The Federal Aviation Administration has closed its investigation into the Blue Origin New Shepard 23 "mishap."...
FAA Closes Its Blue Origin Investigation
Written by Matt Milano
  • The Federal Aviation Administration has closed its investigation into the Blue Origin New Shepard 23 “mishap.”

    The FAA has been investigating the New Shepard 23 incident, leaving Blue Origin grounded until the investigation could be complete. The agency has released its final report, ending the investigation and giving Blue Origin a list of corrective actions to take.

    The final report cites the proximate cause of the Sept. 12, 2022, mishap as the structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher than expected engine operating temperatures. The FAA required Blue Origin implement 21 corrective actions to prevent mishap reoccurrence, including redesign of engine and nozzle components to improve structural performance during operation as well as organizational changes.

    During the mishap the onboard launch vehicle systems detected the anomaly, triggered an abort and separation of the capsule from the propulsion module as intended and shut down the engine. The capsule landed safety and the propulsion module was destroyed upon impact with the ground. All debris landed within the designated hazard area. Public safety was maintained at all times with no injuries or public property damage.

    The FAA says the investigation wrapping up does not immediately clear Blue Origin to resume flights. It does, nonetheless, pave the way for the company to resume operations once it completes the corrective actions and receives a license modification.

    The closure of the mishap investigation does not signal an immediate resumption of New Shepard launches. Blue Origin must implement all corrective actions that impact public safety and receive a license modification from the FAA that addresses all safety and other applicable regulatory requirements prior to the next New Shepard launch.

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