Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has successfully launched a rocket, and it returned in one piece. Bezos, who has invested a portion of his wealth in a spaceflight technology company called Blue Origin, launched its New Shepard rocket. The rocket, which was named after Alan Shepard, the first American to reach space in a similar suborbital flight in 1961, took flight this week.
The rocket launched from Texas last week. The New Shepard crew capsule blasted into space with no passengers on board. After reaching its outlined test altitude of 329,839 feet, the vessel returned to Earth, landing upright just four and a half feet from its launch pad, according to Blue Origin.
The company writes, “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.”
During an interview with Good Morning America Bezos said, “When you throw a rocket away, an expendable rocket, you use it once and you throw away all that expensive space hardware. It’d be like getting in your [Boeing] 747 and flying across the country and then throwing it away, just using it one time. Imagine how expensive traveling would be.”
November has been a very successful month for Bezos. Earlier this month, Bezos was named one of Forbe’s Most Powerful People. Out of the 73 people who made the coveted list, Bezos ranked in the top 20, snagging the 17th spot.To find out all the heads of states, investors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who made the list of 73 of the most powerful players in the world, click here.
Watch the launch below.
Photo via Blue Origin