Watch out, Elon Musk. Jeff Bezos’s space startup just beat you to the punch, big-time. Blue Origin beautifully landed the world’s first reusable suborbital rocket yesterday. The unmanned rocket ship made history during a test flight in West Texas, soaring some 62 miles into space, then sticking a smooth vertical landing upon its return to earth.
In celebration of the landmark feat, the Amazon founder and CEO fired off his first-ever tweet. We’d say he earned it. Bragging rights well-deserved.
The rarest of beasts - a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video: https://t.co/9OypFoxZk3— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) November 24, 2015
"Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore,” Bezos said in a blog post following what he hailed as New Shepard’s “flawless” mission. “Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket...Full reuse is a game changer, and we can't wait to fuel up and fly again."
Ever the gentleman, Musk tweeted his congrats Bezos this morning. It was a refreshing show of good sportsmanship from a fiercely driven competitor.
Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2015
Musk’s own commercial space startup, SpaceX, has yet to successfully land and reuse its Falcon 9 rockets. The rockets have botched landing attempts on a floating platform in the Atlantic ocean. During SpaceX’s last test flight, the Falcon 9 blew up minutes after launch, sending Musk and company back to the drawing board once again.
Bezos, Musk and fellow billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson aren’t just vying to gain a competitive foothold in the burgeoning commercial aerospace market. They’re also battling to rocket everyday people (well, millionaires and celebrities) into space. With yesterday’s Blue Origin victory freshly tucked under his belt, Bezos just took more than a small step forward in the private spaceflight race.
“We are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space,” Bezos said, ”to help us move beyond this blue planet that is the origin of all we know. We are pursuing this vision patiently, step-by-step. Our fantastic team in Kent, Van Horn and Cape Canaveral is working hard not just to build space vehicles, but to bring closer the day when millions of people can live and work in space.”