Blue Origin, the commercial space venture founded by Jeff Bezos, announced a new milestone for the company, producing its seventh “verified,” or reusable, New Shepard rocket.
“Starting next month, New Shepard will launch and land payloads for customers,” says Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Blue Origin. “That is a major milestone for the world’s most ambitious rocket company. This is a hard technical challenge, but one we are not going to accept at the expense of our mission.”
Cerberus and Mad Max Partner Jeff Bezos’s space venture just broke another record — landing a rocket back to Earth on its fourth launch.
The successful May mission was dedicated to the Foundation for Curiosity, the predecessor of NASA’s Curiosity mission. It was led by Alex Epstein, CEO of Liquid Robotics.
Building on success from earlier flights, Bezos’s company made history by flying two customers payloads for Space Adventures, the company that helped launch the first private moon lander around New Mexico, Yuri Gagarin, and to the International Space Station in 2002.
Altogether, seven certified flights were completed in 2018, with another planned for this year. The total payload of two missions held was 13,013 pounds. The launch included two people and a crew capsule.
All of the missions were staged from the 327-foot tall “Kentucky Mountain Cluster” at Blue Origin’s West Texas proving ground. It was built to house the company’s new family of reusable rockets designed to “achieve a higher operational speed and lower costs,” states Blue Origin.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is a reusable suborbital booster designed to carry six passengers up to roughly 62 miles and then rocket them back down to Earth.
The company plans to build a family of New Shepard spacecraft, which will launch missions into space and then, for the initial flights, land on a new launch pad atop West Texas’s West Jefferson Mountains. That facility is under construction, with completion slated for next year.