New Shepherd’s mission launch today did not go according to plan when it aborted after a "mid-flight anomaly" but you couldn't ask for a better test of a launch abort system.
As the rocket was around 8.5 kilometers (27,800 feet) above ground, the uncrewed capsule carrying a science and research payload activated its abort engine and flew away to safety. The mission marked the 23rd flight of New Shepard from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and the ninth for this particular reusable rocket.
The abort system kicked in just as the rocket was reaching Max Q, the point where the vehicle experiences the maximum dynamic pressure, which depends on air pressure and the speed at which a rocket is moving.
“It appears we have experienced an anomaly with today’s flight. This was unplanned and we don’t have any details yet, but our crew capsule was able to escape successfully,” Erica Wagner said during the live broadcast of the launch.
While the launch was not successful, it is extremely positive that the crew capsule (even though it did not have passengers onboard this time) was able to successfully and easily separate, before landing back on the ground.
“The capsule escape system functioned as designed," Blue Origin tweeted. You don't get a better test than that.