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Blue Origin sticks rocket landing, a major step toward reusable spaceflight

Blue Origin’s New Shepard is mostly meant to be used one day in commercial space tourism, with the capsule able to carry six astronauts to an altitude of about 100 km, as portrayed by the CG animation in the middle of the video above. The capsule deployed its parachutes and drifted to the ground, while the rocket used controlled firings to descend before deploying its landing legs for a triumphant return.

The New Shepard rocket is reusable, meaning spaceflight could become significantly more affordable.

Musk congratulated Blue Origin on its successful rocket landing on Tuesday, but noted that suborbital rockets are not flying high or fast enough when compared to his rockets. The capsule, in which any passengers to space would be placed, landed separately by parachute.

Blue Origin will spend the next few years in testing before sending humans into space, Bezos said.

SpaceX has also built reusable rockets, and has attempted two landings, so far. SpaceX has said it’s going to make an overland reusability attempt, but the company still doesn’t have a return-to-flight date after its June mission failure on an International Space Station resupply mission. Blue Originastronauts will experience the thrill of launch atop a rocket, the freedom of weightlessness, and views through the largest windows to ever fly in space. The unit landed only 4.5ft (1.4m) off the centre from the original launch pad.

SpaceX gets most of the attention when it comes to private spaceflight firms, but Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is doing some impressive things too. Blue Origin, launched in 2000, has had $500 million sunk into it by Bezos alone. Several companies, including Elon Musks’s SpaceX have been trying to achieve a recoverable space rocket to bring down the price factor.

Everyone is anxious to crack the code on reusable rockets because they have the potential to reduce the cost of reaching orbit dramatically.

In an historic first, the private company founded by Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos has become the first to land a reuseable rocket that’s traveled to and from space.

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