Here's an inspiring video of Amazon chief Jeff Bezos' redesigned Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft as it roars off the launchpad in its first successful test. The beautiful, vertical takeoff/vertical landing vehicle rocketed safely into the heavens and attained an altitude of 58 miles before separating from its rocket booster and drifting perfectly back to Earth via parachutes.
The curvy, six-man New Shepard crew capsule was named after NASA astronaut Alan Shepard and developed as a delivery spacecraft to take passengers and payloads on suborbital space flights. Though the spacecraft floated back to land as planned, the propulsion module was lost due to hydraulic depressurization during the descent.
Bezos posted this highlight video of their historic test at Blue Origin's West Texas launch site and added the following enthusiastic comments:
"Our 110,000-lbf thrust liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen BE-3 engine worked flawlessly, powering New Shepard through Mach 3 to its planned test altitude of 307,000 feet. Guidance, navigation and control was nominal throughout max Q and all of ascent. The in-space separation of the crew capsule from the propulsion module was perfect. Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return."
Is this another important step in the further privatization of space or just another billionaire playing with big rockets?