Blue Origin successfully tests its crew escape system

It even stuck a rocket landing that could easily have gone badly.

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Blue Origin
Blue Origin

Blue Origin's escape system test went by without a hitch. Jeff Bezos' private spaceflight outfit successfully ejected the crew capsule from the New Shepherd rocket about 45 seconds after launch, shooting it away at about 400MPH before parachutes carried it safely to Earth. On top of this, Blue Origin landed New Shepherd again -- there were worries that the capsule's rocket would damage the booster and prevent it from landing safely. You can watch it yourself below, starting at the 1:05:58 mark.

This should be the last time you see this New Shepherd rocket in action, since Bezos said he would put it in a museum if it made the landing. It certainly has quite the storied (if brief) history: it's the first reusable rocket to visit space and safely land, and also the first to actually see reuse. It managed the feat five times before retirement.

It's a sharp contrast to what we've seen with rivals like SpaceX. Elon Musk's company has yet to reuse a rocket, but it's the only one of the two firms to have delivered honest-to-goodness payloads into space, or to manage sea landings. Blue Origin simply isn't interested in cargo runs, though. It's focused on manned flights, and space tourism in particular (service could start in 2018) -- it may have have a narrower scope, but it's making more progress within that scope.

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