The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has closed its investigation into the Blue Origin New Shepard 23 mishap after the vehicle suffered a mid-flight failure last year.
The final report cites the proximate cause of the September 12, 2022, mishap as the structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher than expected engine operating temperatures.
The FAA required Blue Origin to implement 21 corrective actions to prevent mishap reoccurrence, including redesign of engine and nozzle components to improve structural performance during operation as well as organisational changes.
Blue Origin New Shepard 23 mishap
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 closure of the mishap investigation does not signal an immediate resumption of New Shepard launches, the FAA said.
The company 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.
The FAA oversaw the Blue Origin-led investigation to ensure the company complied with its FAA-approved mishap plan, the terms and conditions of its license and other regulatory requirements.
The FAA was involved in every step of the mishap investigation and granted NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board official observer status.
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