Amazon’s Jeff Bezos reusable rocket project, Blue Origin, successfully launched its large New Shepard rocket and capsule to a height of some 106 kms (some 340,000 feet) before returning to Earth.
The booster rocket returned to Earth in a textbook landing to its designated zone. The 6-seat capsule made its own descent with a parachute-aided landing initially at barely 16 miles/hour. This was the second flight for the booster rocket.
The flight took place from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site (‘Launch Site One’) on April 14th (at 12.51 local time). This version of the Blue Origin fleet is designed to carry people in a dedicated capsule on top of the booster rocket and in particular paying customers.
Bezos’s vision is for “millions of people” to be living and working in space. “If we can lower the cost of access to space with reusable launch vehicles, we can all enable this dynamic future for humanity,” says Blue Origin’s website.
However, despite this undoubted success the project is a couple of years behind schedule. There has been no news as regards the sale of tickets for would-be astronauts, or the cost of those tickets.
There has also been very little hard news as regards Amazon’s Low Earth orbiting satellite concept, Project Kuiper, which calls for a few thousand satellites to be placed into orbit.