Blue Origin on Tuesday said its space vehicle flew into space and returned successfully in a proof of concept that illustrates how commercial space flight is progressing.
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is the founder of Blue Origin, which aims to commercialize human space travel. Bezos isn't the only billionaire in the space race. Richard Branson has Virgin Galactic in addition to his other corporate empires. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has SpaceX.
The flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle reached an altitude of 100.5 kilometers and landed back at its West Texas launch site. New Shepard has a crew capsule and a rocket booster by a BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine. The BE-3 delivers 110,000 of thrust.
Reusable rockets and safe return flights are critical events if space travel is going to be commercialized. Blue Origins will continue to flight test its space vehicle and then begin astronaut flights, according to a blog post.
In the test, the crew capsule separated and coasted into space and then descends and lands deploying three parachutes. The booster rocket returns via guided flight to the landing pad and hits the ground at about 4.4 miles per hour.
The critical point is that the rocket can be reused to cut costs.