Third time’s the charm, and Jess Bezos’ Blue Origin private space company is making short work of creating a truly reusable rocket.
The company has successfully launched and landed a rocket for the third time, while actually using one of the same New Shepard rockets from a previous successful landing. Reusable technology is one of the Holy Grails of space travel, as it would substantially lower the cost of actually getting stuff (and people) into space. Along with Blue Origin, SpaceX is also making a major push into the reusable rocket space.
As for this third test, Blue Origin actually upped the difficulty to test out some new technology. For this landing, the team waited until the rocket was at 3,600 feet from the ground to restart the rocket engine — which, as Wired notes, leaves less room for error in sticking the landing. The launch was also used to test a new crew capsule separation algorithm, and that apparently went off without a hitch, too.
Though Blue Origin is holding the edge against SpaceX on paper (SpaceX had several near-misses before finally sticking a landing), it’s important to note SpaceX has been trying to land a rocket after sending it into orbit, which is way harder than what Blue Origin is doing here. Landing a rocket at all is nothing to sneeze at, obviously, but it’s an important distinction to make. Regardless, this is all really awesome and the future is looking bright.
Check out a video of the landing below and let us know what you think: