Blue Origin — the Jeff Bezos-backed space transport firm — has announced the successful launch and landing of a suborbital rocket that hit a max height of 63 miles over the Earth. The rocket landed largely unharmed in Texas on Friday (Jan. 22). The rocket made the same trip in November.
The weekend launch was the second successful run of the rocket and another push for Blue Origin. The firm is aiming for a future where reusable rockets will eventually be a key part of humans living away from the surface of the Earth.
The rockets will make life possible for “millions of people living and working in space,” Bezos said in a blog post on Blue Origin’s website.
The goal is to build a rocket that can actually get into orbit, return to Earth and then be reused. This would make space travel more accessible by lowering launch costs significantly.
“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,” Bezos wrote of the launch.
Blue Origin is not alone in the private race for space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched a satellite for NASA on Jan. 17. The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base and performed well in flight.
Didn’t quite stick the landing, though — a leg on the rocket collapsed when it attempted to land on a barge floating in California, which caused the whole thing to fall over.
“Well, at least the pieces were bigger this time,” Musk noted on Twitter.