Blue Origin launches, lands the same rocket for the fourth time, by Emily Calandrelli.
The purpose of today’s uncrewed mission was to test the scenario in which one parachute fails to deploy during the descent of the New Shepard crew capsule. Blue Origin is using launches like these to test out their New Shepard system before using it to bring humans into space.
FLASHBACK: In the 1980s a Stanford laboratory I was part of ran a space shuttle mission (I wasn’t involved). The people I knew were scathing about the bureaucracy and inefficiency at NASA, complaining it was snarled in red-tape and that too many of the good people had left. They reckoned the future of space exploration was therefore with private industry. Looks like that is coming to pass. This rocket pictured above is run by Amazon, while the head of NASA has said Barack Obama told him to make “reaching out to the Muslim world” one of NASA’s top three priorities, along with inspiring children, and expanding international relationships. NASA no longer flies the Shuttle, has no replacement for it, and rents rides on Russian launchers.