Space transportation company, Blue Origin, successfully launched and landed a suborbital rocket Tuesday in an important step toward making reusable rockets.
The company, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is competing with Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX, among others, to enter the commercial rocket business.
“Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore. Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket,”said Bezos in a Blue Origin blog post.
The New Shepard rocket was launched Monday from the company’s launch site in West Texas and climbed to an altitude of 100 kilometers before landing eight minutes later, according to the company.The top speed reached by New Shepard was over three times the speed of sound, the company said.
The test flight was unmanned, but the rocket is topped with a capsule designed to carry six.
Musk took to Twitter to congratulate Bezos. SpaceX has not succeeded in landing a rocket, but the company has had success launching its spacecraft to higher altitudes at higher speeds.
Blue Origin hopes to offer suborbital flights aboard New Shepard, but also wants to build and launch rockets capable of reaching orbit carrying crew and cargo.
"The vision for Blue [Origin] is pretty simple," Bezos said at a media event in September. "We want to see millions of people living and working in space, and that’s going to take a long time. It’s a worthwhile goal."
Here's a video about the test flight: