Jeff Bezos’ space firm has managed to successfully test a re-usable rocket for the second time, thus achieving a new landmark towards the development of economical space travel. Blue Origin, the company created by Mr. Bezos successfully launched the New Shepard Rocket for the first time in November and has now repeated the take-off successfully, two months after the first launch.
This time, the rocket managed an altitude of 63 miles before it returned to Earth (west Texas) on Friday morning. Blue Origin has released a video that shows the launch and subsequent landing from the Texas site on 22nd January. The rocket was able to slow down to 5km/h during the descent using parachutes.
The test launches were designed to carry 6 passengers, however, were launched without anyone on board. The breakthroughs being achieved by Blue Origin and its competitor, SpaceX, are paving the way for reduced space travel costs and making rockets usable similar to like airplanes.
Jeff Bezos wrote on Blue Origin website, “I’m a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing. Why? Because to achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in space we will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing architecture scales extraordinarily well. When you do a vertical landing, you’re solving the classic inverted pendulum problem, and the inverted pendulum problem gets a bit easier as the pendulum gets a bit bigger.”
He further said on Saturday that Blue Origins has come up with a solution to balance the rocket in an upright position while it lands and although the company has only launched suborbital rockets so far, it is developing a more powerful rocket engine. The company will be testing out the more powerful engine later this year. Mr. Bezos said, “We’re already more than three years into development of our first orbital vehicle. Though it will be the small vehicle in our orbital family, it’s still many times larger than New Shepard.”