An uncrewed Blue Origin rocket carrying research payloads crashed shortly after liftoff from Texas on Monday, but the capsule carrying experiments escaped and floated safely back to Earth.
The incident marked a setback for Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos' company as well as the space tourism sector.
Though observers were encouraged by the fact that had people been aboard, they would have likely survived.
Blue Origin tweeted a short video clip showing the moment when the capsule fired emergency thrusters to separate itself from its booster rocket.
"Booster failure on uncrewed flight. Escape system performed as designed," Blue said on its website.
The New Shepard suborbital rockets have been grounded pending an investigation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said, which is standard procedure.
"The capsule landed safely and the booster impacted within the designated hazard area. No injuries or public property damage have been reported," the FAA added.
It was the 23rd mission for the New Shepard rocket program, named after the first American in space, and the first to end in failure.
NS-23, which had 36 experiments on board, was first set to launch in late August, but was delayed due to inclement weather.
The incident marks a setback for both Blue Origin and the nascent space tourism industry.