Blue Origin Launches and Lands Recovered Rocket

I am so fascinated by this rocket by Blue Origin. How methodical their approach is to reusable rockets…


Without any notice, Blue Origin made history once again when they completed a successful launch and landing of a suborbital rocket yesterday. What made this flight particularly notable was that they used the same rocket that had been launched into space on a flight in November.

The recovered New Shepard rocket launched from Blue Origin’s test site in West Texas, brought a capsule to space at an altitude of 101.7 kilometers, and then both the booster and the capsule returned safely back down to the ground. The Karman line, the generally agreed upon line of space, is held at 100 kilometers.

The booster was directed back to the Earth where it made a propulsive soft landing. The capsule returned at a different location using 3 large parachutes and retro-thrust propulsion to slow its descent.











Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight profile / Image courtesy of Blue Origin

Video of the launch was titled “Launch. Land. Repeat.” A simple concept, but a truly revolutionary strategy for the rocket industry that is just now taking shape with companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX leading the way.

In November, Blue Origin performed a similar suborbital launch and landing with the New Shepard rocket to an altitude of 100.5 kilometers.













The New Shephard vehicle will be used to bring tourists and researchers into suborbital space, competing with similar rides offered by Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic.

In a blog post on the company’s website, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos explained that a few hardware replacements and software adjustments were necessary after their first New Shepard launch. In addition to replacing the crew capsule parachutes and the booster’s pyro igniters, the Blue Origin team made a “noteworthy” software improvement related to landing on the pad.

Back in December, SpaceX successfully launched and landed their Falcon 9 rocket in an orbital mission to space. Many, including Elon Musk himself, were quick to point out that SpaceX’s rocket recovery was slightly different than Jeff Bezos’ rocket recovery.

About the Author

Bill West
The founder and director of several art and sculpture related marketing companies along with their companion websites. Bill West is all about Art, Sculpture. Music, Architecture, Technology and items that move like cars and all motion related cool - all things Spatial. Bill West first became involved in the visual communications industry in 1972. Starting with a Craft store, then moving into commercial and fine arts store and both wholesale and retail as well as publishing our own 300 page catalog. That morphed in as gallery and large custom picture frame operation. Soon after that we ventured into drafting and engineering supply company and large scale photo reprographics services operation with complete large format color lab! Next came a Computer graphics systems integration company. Selling both cad/cam systems and micro-computer design cad systems which integrated AutoCad and 3D visualization programs to the PC. Always a forward thinker, Bill can spot market changes in the making and is good at positioning companies to benefit from that eventuality. A good example of this seeming clairvoyance is the way he jumped on the internet in 1993. By 1995 he had created a respected internet marketing business catering to the visual arts community.

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