For decades, NASA was the only game in American space exploration, but in recent history private investment groups have started reaching for the stars. One such private group, Blue Origin, lead by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has made history with its reusable New Shepard space vehicle. In this video you watch the New Shepard reach its test altitude of 329,839 feet, then come back to Earth for a safe landing.
In a statement on Blue Origin’s blog, Bezo’s had this to say about the historic launch.
"Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore. Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket.
This flight validates our vehicle architecture and design. Our unique ring fin shifted the center of pressure aft to help control reentry and descent; eight large drag brakes deployed and reduced the vehicle’s terminal speed to 387 mph; hydraulically actuated fins steered the vehicle through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to a location precisely aligned with and 5,000 feet above the landing pad; then the highly-throttleable BE-3 engine re-ignited to slow the booster as the landing gear deployed and the vehicle descended the last 100 feet at 4.4 mph to touchdown on the pad.”
This launch ignites a world of possibilities for driving down the cost of space exploration, thanks to the rocket's reusable design.