Not only is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ online retail company’s pre-Black Friday sales sky rocketing, his actual rocket ship has also achieved a major breakthrough by traveling into outer space and then re-entering earth, landing upright and intact.
The achievement means that the cost of space travel just got cheaper. In the past, rockets were disposed of after launching craft into space but this breakthrough means that the rocket is reusable.
Bezos started his space company, Blue Origin, with the aim of using his New Shepard rocket for space tourism.
“Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts — a used rocket,” Bezos says. “Full reuse is a game changer, and we can’t wait to fuel up and fly again.”
Bezos likens not being able to reuse rockets to airlines discarding 747 jets after each cross-country flight, saying, “You can imagine how expensive your ticket would be.”
His return to earth upright and intake feat puts Blue Origin clearly ahead of rival rocket business SpaceX, financed by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, which has been trying to land rockets upright as well.
Some of the SpaceX rockets have landed upright in test flights but those flights never left the earth’s atmosphere. SpaceX’s attempts to travel to outer space and return to upright landings have failed with the rockets toppling over while attempting to land on an ocean platform.
SpaceX and Blue Origin are the leaders in the new business of private space launches. Virgin’s Richard Branson’s is aiming to have his Virgin Galactic carry passengers to space in a spacecraft launched from an airplane.
Bezos dismisses Branson’s and Musk’s efforts to date and doesn’t see them as competition.
“I think of our competition primarily as Earth’s gravity,” he says. “Space is a big place. There’s room for all of us.”