Blue Origin, the spaceflight services company led by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, successfully launched and landed its New Shepard reusable rocket for the fourth consecutive time on Sunday. What made this launch and landing special is the fact that Blue Origin livestreamed the entire event for the first time ever over the Internet.
The launch was delayed by 21 minutes due to excessive heat in West Texas but once the rocket took flight, everything went precisely as planned.
Blue Origin is a private space tourism company meaning it ultimately plans to shuttle paying customers to space in a passenger capsule. Once there, the rocket that propelled the capsule separates and falls back to Earth. Passengers in the capsule will experience roughly four minutes of weightlessness before racing back to our home planet.
Today’s launch was an “intentional” crash landing designed to test the (unmanned) capsule’s emergency system should the primary parachutes fail to deploy. Again, everything went off without a hitch as the rocket landed upright and the capsule touched down using its backup parachutes without incident.
As The Verge notes, Blue Origin plans to conduct several more unmanned test flights over the coming year. Bezos is shooting for manned test flights to take place as early as next year before offering paid rides in 2018. No word yet on how much Blue Origin plans to charge for a single ticket to space.
Lifeoff takes place at around the 35 minute mark in the video above.