Jeff Bezos’ Space Tourism Craft has Been Grounded After A Malfunction

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin has been dealt a major setback in its space tourism aspirations as its flagship capsule, the New Shepard, has been grounded for the past six months due to a malfunction with its escape hatch. According to reports, a crewless launch in September 2022 saw the capsule’s escape motor and parachute activate around a minute after launch, prompting a lengthy investigation.

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While the specifics of the malfunction have not been disclosed, it’s clear that the incident has raised serious concerns over the safety of the New Shepard, which was launched successfully in July 2021 with Bezos himself on board. The fact that the escape mechanism fired in error so soon after launch highlights just how critical it is for these systems to function perfectly in the event of an emergency.

Blue Origin has remained tight-lipped about the investigation and has yet to announce a timeline for the New Shepard’s return to service. However, it’s clear that the incident has cast a shadow over the company’s ambitions in the space tourism sector. With competitors like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic also vying for a share of the market, any major setback could prove costly in terms of both reputation and revenue.

Despite this setback, Jeff Bezos remains committed to his vision of democratizing access to space. In a recent interview with Forbes, he reiterated his belief that space exploration is “incredibly important for the future of humanity” and that Blue Origin is “just getting started.” It remains to be seen how this latest setback will impact the company’s plans, but one thing is clear: the race to commercialize space is heating up, and the stakes are higher than ever.

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