A private space firm made history on Monday when its unmanned rocket executed a historic -- and pretty badass -- vertical landing after traveling to space. Despite their recent attempts, it wasn't accomplished by Elon Musk's team at SpaceX. Nope, the long-sought feat of developing a large reusable rocket belongs to Blue Origin, a private firm owned by none other than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, aka the guy you order new underwear and Danielle Steele novels from.
The company's New Shepard space vehicle, which consists of a BE-3 rocket and a small (but empty) capsule for crew members, reached near the edge of space at a planned altitude of nearly 333,000ft before returning to Earth. After the unmanned capsule separated from the rocket and safely returned to Earth via parachute, the spent rocket initiated its own descent -- firing at about 5,000ft and making a historic controlled vertical landing at a test site in West Texas. It smoothly touched down at just 4.4mph, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Bezos announced the successful landing in his first post on Twitter Tuesday morning, and it's a helluva humblebrag... or dare we say mic drop:
Enjoy Baklava for Breakfast
But what does the success of a reusable rocket actually mean for space travel? In a press release, Bezos suggests the landing is one of his company's many patient steps toward a future in which more humans travel to -- and even live in -- space.
"We are building Blue Origin to seed an enduring human presence in space, to help us move beyond this blue planet that is the origin of all we know," he said in a press release. "We are pursuing this vision patiently, step-by-step. Our fantastic team in Kent, Van Horn and Cape Canaveral is working hard not just to build space vehicles, but to bring closer the day when millions of people can live and work in space."
Let's just hope the future's space vehicles also get 2-day shipping on Amazon Prime.
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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and really hopes this means that we can go to space soon. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.