Jeff Bezos’ space tourism venture Blue Origin delayed its fifth crewed launch that was scheduled for Friday as one of the New Shepard rocket’s back-up systems did not meet expectations.
Blue Origin’s fourth flight landed successfully in March in west Texas after taking six passengers for a 10-minute journey to the edge of space.
The company’s suborbital joyride lasts about 10 minutes from liftoff to touchdown, hits an altitude of about 350,000 feet (106km), treating passengers to a few moments of weightlessness before a descent back to Earth for a parachute landing.
Blue Origin said on Wednesday tests showed one of the rocket’s back-up systems did not meet performance expectations and it was delaying the mission.
A handful of companies including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson-founded Virgin Galactic are striving to make space travel a reality.
Meanwhile, US rocket companies are said to be facing a capacity crunch for satellite launches as sanctions sideline the Russian space launch industry. As per a recent report, SpaceX, Astra Space, and Rocket Lab USA are some of the US companies that’re expected to fill the crunch, but industry officials aren’t sure if they’re up to the task.
The race between Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper is on to build large satellite constellations to send broadband internet from space. Due to this, the demand for launches is said to go higher.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper will be taking up significant capacity over the next few years, analysts expect the industry to face some launch-related delays.