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Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chair Beyer Statement on Blue Origin New Shepard-23 Booster Failure

Today, Blue Origin’s commercial suborbital launch vehicle, New Shepard-23 (NS-23), which launched from its launch site in West Texas, suffered a booster failure that caused the vehicle’s crew escape system to activate. The vehicle, which was reportedly carrying science payloads, was uncrewed and no humans were on board. However, the same booster design is used for the company’s commercial launches with humans, with six such crewed launches being carried out in just over a year. 

“Today’s booster failure of NS-23 is a compelling reminder of the risks of spaceflight,” said Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA). “As Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, I take our oversight role in this area very seriously. I will await further information from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation as it begins its investigation of the anomaly experienced today. As commercial human spaceflight is now a reality, the Subcommittee’s work on the safety of commercial human spaceflight is more important than ever.”