Elon Musk congratulates Jeff Bezos' for his amazing rocket landing and reminds everyone that SpaceX is still ahead

On Monday, Nov. 23, Jeff Bezos’ private company, Blue Origin, launched its New Shepard rocket to an altitude of 62 miles. And then they did something incredible

They brought the rocket back in one piece, ready for another launch.

This is a significant step toward a future of reusable rockets that can fly more than once and, therefore, save millions of dollars in construction costs.

As a champion and leader of this type of technology, Elon Musk, who founded the private company SpaceX, congratulated Blue Origin on its successful vertical take-off landing (VTOL):

He then tweeted something that gives a peak inside this very important race to build the first reusable rocket that could eventually help land and launch astronauts on and off Mars, a passion of Musk’s:

While Blue Origin’s landing is a truly significant accomplishment for reusable rocket technology, the company is still a long way from building a reusable rocket that could ferry astronauts to space and back.

When it comes to rockets, its New Shepard rocket is relatively small and light and can only generate enough power to reach 61 to 62 miles above Earth’s surface, which is known as suborbital space. 

If you want to go to Mars, you don’t just have to get your rocket above suborbital space so it can orbit the Earth. You also have to get it high enough to complete what is called a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), which is an efficient way to transfer spacecraft from one planet to the next using the assistance of Earth’s and Mars’ gravity instead of fuel.

Musk’s third tweet about the Blue Origin news helpfully tells us how much power that takes:

Mach 30 is equivalent to a maximum rocket speed of 23,000 mph. Blue Origin’s rocket reached a max speed of Mach 3.72, or about 2,854 mph.

Still, SpaceX isn’t ready for Mars yet either. However, they have successfully designed reusable rockets that can ferry payloads to the International Space Station, which is about four times higher than suborbital space. And during those missions, their Falcon 9 rockets reach max speeds of Mach 10.

They have also been attempting to land this rocket on a platform in the middle of the ocean. Their first two tries were unsuccessful, but they have plans to try again this December.

SpaceX also just earned a contract from NASA to ferry astronauts to the ISS starting as early as late 2017. 

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

NOW WATCH: This is how Elon Musk wants to drastically reduce the cost of space flight

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.