Blue Origin’s Reusable Rocket Just Stuck Its Third Landing
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Jeff Bezos’ private spaceflight company Blue Origin just relaunched and relanded a rocket—again. It’s the second time that Blue Origin has reused this particular New Shepard rocket and the third time the rocket has gone to space. If Bezos has his way, reusable rockets that take off and land will be as unremarkable airplanes that do it everyday.
Flawless BE-3 restart and perfect booster landing. CC chutes
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 2, 2016
But a few small things were different this time. In the lead-up to the launch, Blue Origin announced it was upping the ante by restarting the rocket engine only 3,600 feet in the air, leaving less room for error as it maneuvers on the way down. It’s also tested a new algorithm for the crew capsule, which separates from the rocket and lands via parachutes. And lastly, the New Shepard got some additional cargo: a couple microgravity experiments.
Bezos announced the launch and all of the details on Twitter, in typical Elon Musk fashion, you might say. And indeed the two commercial space company CEOs have certainly been in some sort of, uh, rocket-measuring contest. Blue Origin landed the first reusable rocket in November, but SpaceX in December landed the first reusable rocket to go not just into space but into orbit—a totally different category of hard.
Unlike SpaceX, which livestreams its launches, Blue Origin generally keeps things under wraps. At least Bezos announced this launch ahead of time. Previously, Blue Origin had only released glossy videos of the launch after successful launches—you can expect one soon, so check back here.
In any case, Musk had a pretty good week himself with his non-rocket company.