It seems like a script from a Bond movie, multi billionaire builds private rocket launch facility in Texas, USA and proceeds to send secretive payloads into orbit, but that is what happened yesterday. Though the billionaire in question hasn’t been that secretive about his intentions and he’s not quite ready to send payloads into orbit. However Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos and his rocket company Blue Origin, setup in 2000, had their first successful test flight today.
Their New Shepherd capsule and rocket boosters reached a height of 93.6 kilometres and a maximum speed of mach 3, with the capsule returning safely back to earth with parachutes once the rockets finished firing. However, the launch wasn’t a total success because a loss of hydraulic pressure meant the firm wasn’t able to recover the rocket’s propulsion modules as planned, but this flight puts them ahead of rivals. Bezos wrote “If New Shepard had been a traditional expendable vehicle, this would have been a flawless first test flight,”.
The aim of their first rocket and capsule venture is sub-orbital spaceflight, but the company is beginning to make new partnerships with a view to developing an orbital capsule, capable of docking with the international space station. The current capsule is capable of carrying six occupants to space. Defined space flight is anything greater than 100 km, so today’s flight was nearly there.