Champagne weekend for Blue Origin with third launch
Bezos' booster drops, doesn't break, again
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin has released video of its third successful flight on April 2.
Alongside Elon Musk's SpaceX, Blue Origin is one of the drivers behind more reusable rockets, and the Saturday test didn't disappoint: its New Shepherd rocket launched and made a successful vertical landing near Van Horn in Texas.
Previous Blue Origin launches include one in May 2015 in which an empty crew lander dropped gently on parachutes, but the booster didn't get its soft landing; and a successful vertical landing in a November 2015 test flight.
Like the previous tests, this weekend's launch took New Shepherd to 100.5 km altitude before the crew module separated and made its parachute return.
What sent Jeff to Twitter, though, was successfully re-lighting the BE-3 engine on the booster and getting the first stage onto the ground without causing an Earth-shattering kaboom:
Flawless BE-3 restart and perfect booster landing. CC chutes— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) April 2, 2016
The engine relight happens at 1:03 in the video, while the booster is 3,635 feet off the ground (a little over 1,100 metres). Until it's nearly at the ground, the booster's descent is heart-stoppingly quick. ®