Jeff Bezos’s private space flight company Blue Origin launched its reusable rocket for the fourth time today, to test its back up systems.
Once the rocket reached a certain altitude, the booster rocket separated from the crew capsule and the two components came back down to earth separately. The booster rocket landed successfully back on its landing pad. As planned, only two of the crew capsule’s three parachutes deployed and the capsule reached the ground safely.
The New Shepard rocket is designed to take passengers up to the brink of space. During today’s live stream, Blue Origin’s head of business development Ariane Cornell explained the company is able to refurbish their used rocket for “low thousands of dollars” rather than having to build a new rocket each time. This ultimately will enable the company to keep prices lower for consumers.
This flight was unmanned, but the company expects to add a human crew to its test launches in 2017. Here’s the full video of today’s launch: