Jeff Bezos, founder of the commercial spaceflight company Blue Origin, reported on Twitter that the company successfully launched and landed its reusable New Shepard rocket for the third time in a row, restating his mantra — #LaunchLandRepeat.
Blue Origin launched its first reusable rocket in November last year and confirmed its claims during a January launch landing of the same rocket. Now Bezos, who is also CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, is reporting the same rocket has successfully done it for a third time.
There were a few new innovations Bezos and his team wanted to test this time around, which increased the risk something could go wrong during the landing phase. He tweeted yesterday that the vessel’s specially developed BE-3 rocket engine would have to restart faster upon landing than before as they planned to kick the thrusters into gear just 3,600 feet from the ground. At that distance, Bezos said it would take just six second to impact if the engine didn’t restart and ramp fast.
According to the CEO’s Twitter updates, the new engine restart system worked “flawlessly.”
He also stated the launch would test a new radar cross section (RCS) algorithm on the crew capsule, which also successfully deployed.
New Shepard was also carrying a pair of scientific experiments built by students and professors at the University of Central Florida and the Southwest Research Institute. One of the experiments held was meant to study how asteroid rocks behave in zero gravity, while the other shot a marble at dusk in order to better understand collisions in space.
Unlike Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket, New Shepard touches the edge of space just past the suborbital height of 100.5 kilometers, while Musk’s Falcon rocket can actually go into orbit.
However, that shouldn’t take away from the accomplishments of the Blue Origin team, because launching and reusing a rocket three times is something no other company or body has been able to accomplish.
Bezos promises he’ll share footage from the launch as soon as it’s ready, which will include aerial drone footage. For now, check out footage from the previous launch.