Folks who don’t follow the new space race may be surprised to find that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is giving Elon Musk a run for his money on a couple of fronts. In fact, Bezos’s Blue Origin beat SpaceX by a few weeks when it launched and landed a reusable rocket in November. But, where SpaceX tends to be relatively communicative and transparent about its developments, Blue Origin has – until now – stayed pretty damn secretive about its launches.
Thankfully, that’s all about to change. On Sunday, Blue Origin will air its rocket launch on a live webcast for the first time. Bezos tweeted the announcement Monday, noting that the launch will be Blue Origin’s fourth since its historic landing last year.
In the future, Bezos wants to transport tourists into space, strapped into a crew capsule at the top of Blue Origin’s reusable rockets. Though the rocket itself is designed to return to Earth and land vertically, the crew capsule is designed to decouple and float carefully back to land under the aid of three parachutes.
Sunday’s launch will test what happens when the crew capsule decouples but two of it’s parachutes fail. “Flight to test one-chute-out failure scenario & push envelope on booster maneuvers,” Bezos tweeted in a follow-up.
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s successful landing streak crashed to an end yesterday when the Falcon 9 first stage rocket failed to land safely on the “Of Course I Still Love You” landing ship. There was a bit of chaos as the rock came in for an intense landing, shook the ship and cut the cameras out. When the smoke cleared, SpaceX reported that the rocket was lost. Despite the failed landing, the company did deliver its payload of two satellites into geostationary transfer orbit.
Details about Blue Origin’s launch tomorrow are scarce but you can follow and watch the event at blueorigin.com.