The Monitor Daily (U.S.) – Blue Origin re-launched the New Shepard suborbital rocket on January 22nd. The video linked here is truly exciting, showing the launch and perfect vertical landing.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is just one of the private space companies engaged in the highly competitive throwdown for the future of space travelling or commercial space programs. However, it can also brag with an almost flawless record of technological advancements.
The launch of the New Shepard rocket complete with crew capsule, its first landing only two months ago and now the replay of the process stand proof for Blue Origin’s space feats. Blue Origin re-launched the New Shepard suborbital rocket and landed it flawlessly.
The purpose is to repeat this procedure as many times as possible. Both Blue Origin and SpaceX are striving to achieve reusable rockets which would significantly lower the costs of space travel. Both companies have already reached this milestone. Now, it’s all about perfecting the technology. The line accompanying the second lift-off and landing of the New Shepard suborbital rocket summarizes the idea perfectly:
“Launch. Land. Repeat.”
The second launch to the Karman line took place at the same location as the first launch two months ago, the company’s test site in West Texas. Jeff Bezos proudly announced:
“The very same New Shepard booster that flew above the Karman line and then landed vertically at its launch site last November has now flown and landed again, demonstrating reuse”.
Private space companies aiming at commercial spaceflight have one goal to reach: reusable rockets with can travel beyond the Karman line. In other words, suborbital rockets are a success story. Nonetheless, the jump from suborbital to crafts able to traverse the orbit is enormous.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 can be launched into orbit. However, several technical problems experienced with its landing maintain the status-quo of Elon Musk’s space company. Blue Origin’s New Shepard has performed flawlessly each time. Yet, the scale at which the reusable rocket works is below that of SpaceX’s Falcon 9.
Blue Origin’s vision is to use the New Shepard booster to ferry space travelers to their destination and back. More steps are necessary to reach this goal. For now, New Shepard remains a suborbital rocket. Last year’s launch of the New Shepard booster sent it to an altitude of 329,839 feet. The January 22nd launch saw the New Shepard suborbital rocket reach an altitude of 333,582 feet.
One detail that made the difference between the two tests is that New Shepard’s software has been updated to approach landing differently. While during last year’s test the booster aimed for the center of the pad for a perfect landing, it now calculates the most convenient touchdown location. Which means that the software now allows the New Shepard booster to prioritize vertical altitude over previous longitudinal adjustments.
Photo Credits: Video: BlueOrigin YouTube Channel, Image: Wikimedia