Blue Origin Astronauts Trapped by Foliage After Capsule Touchdown

Bush League

By all accounts, billionaire Jeff Bezos' space outfit Blue Origin had a successful crewed roundtrip flight to the edge of space on Sunday — with everything happening as expected except for one little problem that the company's aerospace engineers and scientists probably didn't foresee: some pesky shrubbery.

When the capsule finally touched down on Earth with its six passengers, it landed in a thicket of bushes in the middle of West Texas scrubland.

In live streaming footage of the roundtrip flight, Blue Origin staffers at the 50 minute mark are seen trying to stamp down some stubborn shrubbery around the capsule with the space tourists inside, peering from the windows. Two staffers brought along a blue metal two-step ladder for the crew members to use to disembark, but it took several long minutes for the team to kick back the shrubs surrounding the vessel and position the ladder on the uneven ground.

Finally, when the ladder was in place and the shrubs briefly tamed, the space tourists exited the hatch, with arms raised in triumph.


Feeling Blue

Some in the online peanut gallery took the opportunity to gently poke fun at the shrub incident. In r/SpaceXMasterrace, one Redditor posted a meme with two pictures: a Blue Origin rocket launching into space and an image capture of the capsule on Sunday surrounded by shrubbery. The meme is titled "Who would win? Giant Dick Ship [versus] A Few Planty Bois." The Redditor labeled the post: "Unexpected Foliage Contingency."

Besides the foliage issue, this flight made history because one of its crew members, Ed Dwight, became the oldest astronaut in human history at 90 years old. He was also at one time the first Black astronaut candidate for America's space program back in the 1960s, but was passed over, making Sunday his chance for a spectacular redo.

The Sunday flight was also a triumph for Blue Origin after a hiatus of two years. The company had temporarily grounded operations in 2022 after its reusable rocket, New Shepard, suffered a booster malfunction mid-flight and was forced to eject its capsule of NASA experiments. Thankfully, the flight had no passengers.

The incident drew the scrutiny of the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued "21 corrective actions," including a redesign to some engine parts.

More on Blue Origin: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Rocket Tests Spew Enough Methane to Be Spotted From Space