Blue Origin lands reusable rocket for the fourth consecutive time

Shawn Knight

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Staff member

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.

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Posts: 3,063   +1,386
Bezos likes to act like he pioneered reusable rockets when his go straight up and back down without any missions to accomplish at relatively very low altitudes.

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,372   +5,793
But in as much as it's a demonstration of the process, it's not really surprising. What I find most interesting is the competitive nature of them vs. SpaceX. They both have had their successes and failures and while SpaceX has gone to the "big picture", Blue Origin is following fast behind telling me there is going to be room for both companies to land plenty of contract work from NASA as well as some of the other government agencies. I think the next big hurdle will be for either team to put a crew on board and demo the lifting capabilities as well as the improved safety factor ...... film at 11.
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Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442
Pretty cool to hear especially since I just got a free shirt from Blue Origin a few days ago at an event I was at.


Posts: 927   +575
It is not quite clear in the article whether it is the same rocket that went up four times or different rockets but the fourth one went up this time?