Blue Origin lost one of its developmental test vehicles in an accident last week. Hints that something went wrong started to emerge when an FAA notification mysteriously disappeared with no word as to whether a test had or had not been accomplished.
On 24 August 2011, according to a FAA NOTAM (Notice To Airmen): "FDC 1/3552 ZAB TX.. TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS VAN HORN, TX. EFFECTIVE 1108241200 UTC UNTIL 1108241700 UTC. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.143 TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT DUE TO ROCKET LAUNCH ACTIVITY WITHIN A 17 NM RADIUS OF 312706N/1044546W OR THE SALT FLAT /SFL/ VORTAC 125 DEGREE RADIAL AT 24.3 NAUTICAL MILES SFC TO 18000 MSL. BLUE ORIGIN LLC, TELEPHONE 253-347-2821, IS IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATION. ALBUQUERQUE /ZAB/ ARTCC, 505-856-4500, IS THE FAA COORDINATION FACILITY."
No notice was issued by Blue Origin that any test had occured and request on the >FAA NOTAM webpage from Blue Origin disappeared later the next day.
According to a note posted on Blue Origins website this afternoon: "Successful Short Hop, Set Back, and Next Vehicle - Three months ago, we successfully flew our second test vehicle in a short hop mission, and then last week we lost the vehicle during a developmental test at Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 45,000 feet. A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle. Not the outcome any of us wanted, but we're signed up for this to be hard, and the Blue Origin team is doing an outstanding job. We're already working on our next development vehicle."
Photos from earlier "hop"