Blue Origin’s New Shepard became the first fully reusable rocket when it successfully returned to its launchpad after liftoff, the space technology company announced Tuesday morning.
The space vehicle reached an altitude of nearly 330,000 feet after it launched from Van Horn, Texas, then made a “gentle, controlled” descent back to the launchpad. Founder Jeff Bezos hailed the success a real game-changer.
“You’ve seen a lot of rockets take off, but you’ve never seen one land,” the Amazon CEO told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday. “Reusability is a total game changer … It changes the cost structure of space travel completely.”
Blue Origin is a private company, which Bezos founded in 2000, that works to develop technology for commercial human space travel. Bezos hopes his company will enable “millions of people” to live and work in space.
Blue Origin is a rival to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, another private company invested in the development of advanced rockets and spacecraft. Blue Origin’s “historic” controlled landing edges out SpaceX in the race to create a successful reusable rocket, according to The Verge.
Musk offered a lukewarm congratulation to Bezos on Twitter this morning, calling the New Shepard a “booster” instead of a “rocket.” Musk also noted the importance of distinguishing between “space” and “orbit” in another tweet, an apparent knock at Bezos’ description of the New Shepard’s landing.
Blue Origin will spend the next few years in testing before sending humans into space, Bezos said. Although he didn’t offer an estimate for ticket prices aboard future commercial space flights, Bezos told CBS that he “can’t wait to go.”
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