Skip to main content

Blue Origin’s reusable rocket nails its third landing

new glenn blue origin rocket launch
Blue Origin
Relaunching and relanding the same rocket is turning into a habit for Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin team.

Their unmanned New Shepard rocket made its third sub-orbital trip Saturday morning before returning to terra firma without a hitch a short time later.

Blue Origin CEO Bezos hit Twitter to announce news of yet another successful round trip, describing the latest launch as “flawless” and the booster landing as “perfect.”

The previous launches and landings using Blue Shepard took place in November last year and, more recently, in January.

Saturday’s mission, which carried two microgravity experiments from the Southwest Research Institute and the University of Central Florida, started and finished in west Texas.

Blue Origin hasn’t yet released detailed information on Saturday’s voyage (a video is coming soon), though if it was anything like the last two then it will’ve reached an altitude of around 62.5 miles (330,000 feet) before returning to Earth.

Related: Virgin Galactic unveils its new and improved SpaceShipTwo

Like Blue Origin, SpaceX team is also developing reusable spacecraft technology aimed at significantly reducing the cost of space missions, which besides satellite launches and resupply missions to the International Space Station could one day include far more complex journeys into deep space.

While some observers have downplayed Blue Origin’s achievements, viewing its sub-orbital flights as less challenging when compared to SpaceX’s more complicated orbital missions, Bezos says New Shepard’s current test runs will pave the way for more ambitious rocket-related efforts. Speaking earlier this year, the Amazon founder said Blue Origin is already more than three years into the development of its first orbital vehicle, describing it as “many times larger than New Shepard.”

As for New Shepard, Bezos said in March he wants to begin manned missions using the system as early as next year, with paying customers climbing aboard for orbital adventures perhaps in 2018 following test flights with qualified crew.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carries its heaviest payload to space
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket heads to space.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket thundered to space on Thursday morning carrying its heaviest-ever payload.

Launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:22 a.m. ET, the Falcon 9 took with it 56 Starlink internet satellites as part of a payload weighing 17,400 kilograms (38,400 pounds), according to comments made during a livestream of the mission.

Read more
Rocket Lab aces its first launch from U.S. soil
Rocket Lab launching an Electron rocket from the U.S.

Rocket Lab has completed its maiden mission from its new launch site in the U.S., marking a big step forward for the company as it seeks to better compete with the likes of SpaceX.

The Virginia is for Launch Lovers mission lifted off from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Tuesday evening.

Read more
SpaceX smashes its own record for rocket launches in a year
A Falcon 9 rocket lifts off on May 30, for the first crewed test flight of the Crew Dragon capsule. flight

When it comes to SpaceX rocket launches, this year has been the busiest by a long way.

In 2020, for example, the commercial spaceflight company led by Elon Musk achieved a total of 26 launches, while last year it sent 31 rockets skyward, with all of the missions involving its dependable Falcon 9 rocket.

Read more