Jeff Bezos and the space company he founded, Blue Origin, sent a rocket nearly 330,000 feet into outer space before it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere and enjoyed a near perfect landing.
Bezos talks reusable rockets
“Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts — a used rocket,” Bezos said. “Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.”
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Bezos’ remarks were made to CNN’s Rachel Crane following the New Shepard rocket’s successful flight and landing. Bezos and Blue Origin hope to someday use the New Shepard rocket to take paying space tourists into the great beyond and, of course, return them to Earth.
Beating SpaceX to the punch?
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has also been working hard on the reusable rocket. However, the company has failed to have a successful landing of a rocket that has left the Earth’s atmosphere. On each test flight the rockets have tipped over when attempting a platform landing. SpaceX has successfully landed its rockets but only those that didn’t leave the Earth’s atmosphere.
In addition to SpaceX and Blue Origin, Bezos faces competition in space tourism from Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic….or does he?
“I think of our competition primarily as Earth’s gravity,” Bezos said. “Space is a big place. There’s room for all of us.”
Now that NASA has essentially retired its rockets, both SpaceX and Blue Origin hope to take both astronauts and tourists into space in the future. In fact, Blue Origin is already compiling something of a “waiting list” though it hasn’t publicly listed prices or provided a time table for any future manned flights.
SpaceX presently conducts supply missions to the International Space Station but has yet to get an astronaut there. Both SpaceX and Boeing have won NASA contracts to do just that in the future.
Elon Musk congratulates Bezos (kind of)
While Musk did tweet his congratulations to Bezos and Blue Origin he quickly pointed out that the rocket only reached the edge of space.
“It is … important to clear up the difference between ‘space’ and ‘orbit,'” he tweeted.
In order to reach the ISS, a rocket needs to go ten times as fast and use 100 times the energy of the recent New Shepard launch.