Blue Origin, the commercial spaceflight company founded by Amazon entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, just tested its first suborbital rocket and the results were pretty impressive.
Just like SpaceX’s Elon Musk, Bezos is trying to develop reusable rockets. Rockets that could be used over and over again would completely change spaceflight by dramatically decreasing the cost of launches.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is designed to be fully reusable. But unlike other commercial spaceflight companies, Blue Origin has remained very secretive about its rocket tech.
Now we finally got our first glimpse of the company’s New Shepard rocket in action when Blue Origin released its first test flight video on April 30. And we have to say the rocket is pretty impressive:
It launched out of the company’s test grounds in Texas on April 29 and soared to over 300,000 feet.
New Shepard carries a six-person space capsule that the company hopes will someday ferry astronauts into space. The idea is to jettison the space capsule after launch and then recover the rocket in a vertical landing.
The jettison part of the test flight was flawless:
And Blue Origin did successfully recover the space capsule. It floated down to Earth suspended under parachutes:
“Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return,” Bezos said on his blog.
The rocket recovery, however, did not work out.
“In fact, if New Shepard had been a traditional expendable vehicle, this would have been a flawless first test flight,” Bezos wrote. “Of course one of our goals is reusability, and unfortunately we didn’t get to recover the propulsion module because we lost pressure in our hydraulic system on descent.”
The company did not reveal the fate of the rocket.
SpaceX hasn’t quite nailed a rocket landing yet either, and now it seems like the company has some serious competition to create the world’s first reusable rocket.
Musk might be feeling a little nervous right about now.
You can watch the full test flight video below:
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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