Blue Origin, a private company owned by Jeff Bezos, launched a rocket to space for the second time, which reached the Karman line that represents the border between the atmosphere of Earth and outer space. Then the rocket returned to Earth on Friday, and it was successfully landed. This new achievement presents a segment of space technology which can be more affordable since rocket parts can be reused.
This is the second time Blue Origin launches a rocket to space and then lands it on Earth, after its first success in November last year. Usually, after a rocket deploys satellites into orbit it is destroyed, however, if it is returned to Earth and landed, millions of dollars can be saved. It seems that an exciting future of relatively low-cost space flights could occur in the next 20 years.
Blue Origin is not the only company that has achieved the landing of a rocket that went to space. Last year, SpaceX’s Elon Musk, who is also the CEO of the electric luxury car producer Tesla Company, launched the Falcon 9 Rocket to orbit, which then returned to Earth and landed after it deployed 11 suborbital satellites. It is interesting to note that the development of a rocket like the Falcon 9 costs approximately $16 billion.
Jeff Bezos, who is also the creator of Amazon Inc and the owner of The Washington Post, wrote in a letter that was published on Friday, that Blue Origin is planning to test a new engine called the BE-4, and it will continue to make launches and landings of its New Shepard rocket “again and again” over 2016.
“Though wings and parachutes have their adherents and their advantages, I’m a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing. Why? Because — to achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in space — we will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing architecture scales extraordinarily well. When you do a vertical landing, you’re solving the classic inverted pendulum problem, and the inverted pendulum problem gets a bit easier as the pendulum gets a bit bigger,” he added in the letter.
Analysts have said that if private companies continue to boost the development of reusable space technology, a new market of “democratic” space flights could be created for tourists. Last year, Jeff Bezos said that he wanted to allow millions of people to live and work in space, since his company is already developing a spacecraft for people. So it appears that some humans are not so far from fulfilling their dreams of living in space. That being said, the competition between Elon Musk and the Amazon founder is welcomed.
“Reusability allows us to fly the system again and again. With each flight, we’ll continuously improve the affordability of space exploration and research, opening space for all. All our engines are American-made and are designed, developed, and manufactured at our headquarters in Washington state. Since our first, simple, single-propellant engine—the Blue Engine-1 (BE-1)—we’ve built and tested multiple generations for suborbital and orbital spaceflight,” wrote Blue Origin in its official website.
Source: Blue Origin