Subscribe
First Look

Why Jeff Bezos calls Blue Origin's reusable rocket a 'game changer'

Jeff Bezos's spaceflight company has successfully landed their reusable rocket after a test flight past the boundary of space Monday.

  • close
    Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Private spaceflight company Blue Origin has successfully launched and returned its New Shepard space vehicle in a test flight that could revolutionize spaceflight. 

The New Shepard rocket is reusable, meaning spaceflight could become significantly more affordable.

The spacecraft reached an altitude of 329,839 feet, just passing through the internationally-recognized threshold of 62 miles for space in a test flight Monday. 

“Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore. Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket,” Blue Origin founder and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos wrote on the spaceflight company’s blog. 

“Blue Origin’s reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission – soaring to 329,839 feet and then returning through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just four and a half feet from the center of the pad,” Mr. Bezos said in a news release

New Shephard launched from the company's test site in Van Horn, Texas, on Monday morning, rocketing into space before releasing the crew capsule from the rocket booster. The capsule, which can hold six people but was unmanned Monday, slid into space once released from the booster before descending back toward Earth with the assistance of parachutes.

But it was the rocket booster’s landing that prompted celebration at Blue Origin.

After releasing the crew capsule, the booster began returning to Earth, deploying drag brakes as it reentered the atmosphere to slow down its descent. Closer to the ground, the booster used its rocket engine to slow down more. 

According to Bezo’s blog post, the booster was moving at just 4.4 mph through the last 100 feet. It touched down precisely on the landing pad, thanks to fins steering the vehicle, Bezos wrote.

Blue Origin aims to carry humans into space via commercial spaceflight. “We are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space, to help us move beyond this blue planet that is the origin of all we know,” Bezos wrote in the blog post. “Our fantastic team in Kent, Van Horn and Cape Canaveral is working hard not just to build space vehicles, but to bring closer the day when millions of people can live and work in space.”

Monday’s test flight represents a giant step toward that goal. “Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again,” Bezos said in the news release.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK