“I can assure you here in mission control in West Texas, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Jeff Bezos described the scene after the successful landing of the rocket, New Shepard. “It was one of the greatest moments of my life, and my teammates here at Blue Origin I could see feel the exact same way.”
Space rockets currently tend to be one-trick ponies, launched up into space, breaking barriers and then falling back to earth in a million pieces, making it the most expensive one-way trip you can imagine, until now. A fully reusable rocket booster, is a huge feat in astronomical science. A feat that Bezos, founder of Blue Origin (the entrepreneurial space agency responsible for building, launching and landing the rocket safely back to earth) should be very proud of.
The rocket propelled itself into space from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site on Monday. With the power of a single BE-3 engine the aircraft reached suborbital space limits, releasing a prototype crew capsule from the top of its trajectory, reaching a maximum altitude of 329,839 feet. Once the BE-3 engine turned off the and the crew capsule departed from the thruster to parachute its way back to earth, the real show began. The specialty engine along with guidance software maintained thrust levels, pivoting itself to a controlled landing on the landing pad. Something that space vessel competitor SpaceX, (Elon Musk’s space firm) has not been able to accomplish.
Founded in 2000, Blue Origin’s focus has been on Space tourism, aiming to take paying customers on the joyride of their life, reaching the edge of space and potentially beyond. Monday’s successful landing realizes these ambitions by integrating a reusable thruster, cutting the costs of space launch. New Shepard is a small step for man, and giant leap for public space travel. Check out the space craft’s pinpoint landing below.
Source and Images: Space Flight Now