An unmanned spaceship funded by Internet billionaire Jeff Bezos went out of control and was destroyed during a recent test flight, highlighting the dramatic risks of private space ventures.
The vertical takeoff and landing spacecraft, developed by closely held Blue Origin LLC, was on a suborbital flight from the company's West Texas spaceport last week, U.S. government and industry officials said, when ground personnel lost contact and control of the vehicle. The exact nature and cause of the failure were unclear, but remnants of the spacecraft could provide clues for investigators.
Blue Origin said it lost control of the vehicle at 45,000 feet and the spacecraft was destroyed during the test flight as a precaution. Parts of the vehicle were recovered on the ground and are now being analyzed by company experts, according to government and industry officials.