Jeff Bezos owned space travel company Blue Origin has succeeded a second time in vertically landing its space rocket and capsule New Shepard at their Texas launch site. The New Shepard is a suborbital rocket and its second success in a row is a key step in its quest to develop reusable boosters. In November 2015, Blue Origin fired the New Shepard into space and demonstrated how it has been successful in vertical landing the capsule. It was dream come nearly true for all space tourism enthusiasts.
Now, Bezos has done it again, inching closer to making space tourism a reality. The New Shepard capsule launched from West Texas on Friday and landed itself vertically, minutes later back on the launch pad, revealed Blue Origin in a statement. The New Shepard can carry six passengers to space.
“I'm a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing ... To achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in space, we will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing (system) scales extraordinarily well,” Bezos wrote.
New Shepard reached an altitude of 333,000 feet and then returned gently to Earth. Although the flights have been unmanned up to now, Bezos hopes to eventually put humans in it and show the view from space, writes Telegraph.co.uk.
However, there is competition. Elon Musk’s SpaceX was also successful in returning a rocket to its landing pad in Florida in December after it went on a satellite-delivery mission.
Only a handful of companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are working towards developing rockets that can fly off to space and get back to Earth and can do that repeatedly. This will slash launch costs to a huge extent.
Bezos said that Blue Origin is flying only suborbital rockets for now. However, the company is working on a more powerful rocket engine, the testing of which will start this year.