The private company, founded by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, lost turbopumps and valves which provide the fuel-oxidizer mix to the injectors and combustion chamber of a liquid rocket engine, in an incident said to have taken place on May 13 at a facility near Van Horn, Texas.
"We lost a set of powerpack test hardware on one of our BE-4 test stands yesterday," Blue Origin tweeted, adding that this was not something unusual at this stage. "That's why we always set up our development programs to be hardware rich. Back into testing soon."
We lost a set of powerpack test hardware on one of our BE-4 test stands yesterday. Not unusual during development.— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) 14 мая 2017 г.
That’s why we always set up our development programs to be hardware rich. Back into testing soon. #GradatimFerociter— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) 14 мая 2017 г.
The company has neither provided additional details on what happened to the powerpack, nor specified when BE-4 trials are expected to resume.
A fully assembled BE-4 engine, in development since 2011, was unveiled in March 2017. It is one of the leading candidates to be used on the United Launch Alliance Vulcan launch vehicle which will replace the Atlas V.
The reliable and relatively cheap RD-180, designed and manufactured by NPO Energomash, is used to propel US Atlas V launch vehicles into space.
However, in December 2015, the US Congress passed a budget that includes a provision allowing the country to continue buying the Russian RD-180 rocket engines.
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