Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos-owned commercial aerospace company, achieved a significant milestone on Wednesday after successfully launching and landing its reusable New Shepard rocket for the 10th time. Additionally, it was the company’s first launch of 2019.
The rocket ignited its engines at approximately 9:08 A.M. local time, lofting some of NASA’s research payloads into space. Notably, the capsule at the top of the New Shepard rocket is roomy enough for six people, but this particular launch didn’t carry any passengers into space.
After the New Shepard rocket left the ground, it climbed more than 66 miles above Earth before falling back to Earth and landing upright at a landing pad. In all, the entire stunt lasted for about ten minutes.
Unlike SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, New Shepard is a sub-orbital launch platform. It’s not intended for transporting high-tech satellites into orbit around the Earth, but rather for commercial joyrides that will one day be enjoyed by paying customers who’ve always dreamed of experiencing the weightlessness of outer space.
Blue Origin is planning to launch a much larger rocket in the future called New Glenn that will be far more capable than New Shepard.