It looks like it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for Jeff Bezos this summer — and we’re not just talking about his 500-foot mega sailing yacht.
Per a new report from CNBC, a rocket engine from the Blue Origin fleet, Bezos’ space exploration and tourism company, blew up during testing last month.
The BE-4 engine reportedly exploded about 10 seconds into its test, according to “people familiar with the matter,” who noted that they viewed footage showing a massive explosion.
The test occurred on June 30 at Blue Origin’s West Texas facility.
A Blue Origin New Shepard rocket launches from Launch Site One in West Texas north of Van Horn on March 31, 2022 (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)
“No personnel were injured, and we are currently assessing root cause,” Blue Origin representatives said in a statement to CNBC.
Related: Virgin Galactic Launched Its First Commercial Flight in June
Company personnel also said they “have proximate cause and are working on remedial actions” for the rocket engine, which was set to fly on the Vulcan Centaur’s second launch (it had already been pushed back from its original May 4 debut date).
The same engines are also used on Blue Origin’s “New Glenn” rocket, named after famed astronaut John Glenn.
The Vulcan Centaur is owned by the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a customer of Blue Origin. ULA’s president and CEO Tony Bruno confirmed the failure Tuesday on Twitter.
Sure. Every engine, elex box, COPV, etc, gets an Acceptance Test (ATP) as they come off the line to verify good workmanship. (The one time Qual verifies the design. BE4 is qualified). The BE4’s on Cert1 have passed ATP, as have many others. This engine failed ATP. https://t.co/2n73TwlTa8
— Tory Bruno (@torybruno) July 11, 2023
He also confirmed in a second post that the engine failure further delaying the Centaur launch was “very unlikely.”
Very unlikely. We always check every ATP anomaly for any cross over, but not expected here
— Tory Bruno (@torybruno) July 12, 2023
The Centaur is set to launch sometime in late 2023, according to CNBC.
This isn’t the first of rocket-related failures for Blue Origin.
Related: Virgin Orbit Shares Plummet As Historic Launch Fails Due to ‘Anomaly’
Last September, one of the company’s experimental New Shepard rockets experienced a booster failure which caused an emergency landing for the capsule.
Thankfully, there was no crew aboard the ship.