In November, last year Blue Origin, a private space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, announced that it had successfully landed its New Shephard rocket back to Earth after the suborbital rocket had made its journey to space. it was actually able to beat Elon Musk’s SpaceX to this achievement, SpaceX had to abandon its floating barge landing plans just to do the same last month, and its subsequent barge landing attempt ended up failing as well. Blue Origin has now been able to successfully launch the rocket that’s already been up to space and it managed to safely land it back to Earth for the second time.
This is a big moment for Blue Origin, its New Shephard reusable rocket reached a maximum altitude of 333,582 feet, about 63 miles, above the Earth’s surface before landing back at the company’s test facility in Texas. It’s now the first commercial vertical rocket to visit space for the second time.
Blue Origin did make some tweaks to the rocket before sending it up again. The parachutes in the crew capsule were replaced, as were the rocket’s pyro igniters, and its software was also updated. The company spent a long time meticulously carrying out inspections to ensure that the rocket was ready for that journey again.
However with Blue Origin managing this feat, SpaceX wouldn’t want it to steal all the spotlight, and it would certainly want to show the world that its Falcon 9 reusable rockets are also capable of making multiple trips to space.
On the other hand, it’s likely to be very frustrating for SpaceX. Even though the company has demonstrated that the Falcon 9 rocket it safely landed back can fire up and theoretically go back up again, it’s not going to send that particular rocket back, instead, it’s going to keep it around since it has sentimental value. It remains to be seen though how long it takes SpaceX to replicate with Blue Origin has now achieved.