By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday it had found no safety issues after investigating allegations made against Blue Origin’s human spaceflight program.
The FAA said in September it would review safety concerns raised by former Blue Origin employees. The FAA said on Friday it was closing its investigation after finding “no specific safety issues” and was taking no action against billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space company.
Alexandra Abrams, former head of Blue Origin Employee Communications, and 20 other unnamed Blue Origin employees and former employees, said in an essay they had “seen a pattern of decision-making that often prioritizes execution speed and cost reduction over the appropriate resourcing to ensure quality.”
A Blue Origin spokesperson did not immediately comment Friday but said in September Abrams “was dismissed for cause two years ago after repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations.”
Abrams told CBS News, which first reported the allegations, she never received any warnings related to export control issues.
In July, Bezos soared some 66.5 miles (107 km) above the Texas desert aboard a New Shepard launch vehicle in a suborbital flight.
Blue Origin said in September it stood “by our safety record and believe that New Shepard is the safest space vehicle ever designed or built.”
The essay said a 2018 team at Blue Origin “documented more than 1,000 problem reports related to the engines that power Blue Origin’s rockets, which had never been addressed.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Chizu Nomiyama)