The quest of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, one of the richest man on this planet, to reach for the stars will continue despite suffering a setback recently when an unmanned rocket funded by the billionaire went out of control during its test flight and had to be destroyed.
Bezos, apparently not content with controlling the largest online retail Web site, wanted to reach for the stars and had funded the development of a spacecraft by Blue Origin LLC, a closely held company based in Kent, Wa.
The craft was on a suborbital flight when suddenly it began to veer off-course and after the ground personnel lost normal contact with the vehicle, they were prompted to destroy it.
On Friday, Blue Origin said briefly in a note posted on its Web site that the craft suffered a "flight instability" at an altitude of 45,000 feet from ground when it was speeding at Mach 1.2 (1.2 times faster than speed of sound). As a result, the company had to shut off all thrust, using the automated "range safety system," and destroy the craft. The company has released a photograph of the stubby cylindrical rocket in flight just before it malfunctioned.
Bezos, who aspired to develop a reliable space rocket that will enable tourists and astronauts to fly beyond the stratosphere, said, "A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle."
It wasn't "the outcome any of us wanted," he said.
However, "We're already working on our next development vehicle," Bezos added.
Blue Origin is one of three commercial space ventures backed by super-rich entrepreneurs like Bezos. The other two are Virgin Group CEO Sir Richard Branson's space-travel company Virgin Galactic and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp (Space X). They are all competing to ensure that the U.S. has alternatives to reach the orbiting International Space Station after NASA shut down its 30-year space mission program in July.