Blue Origin sees third successful rocket landing, says owner Jeff Bezos

The private spaceflight company Blue Origin has successfully landed a rocket for the third time, owner Jeff Bezos announced on Saturday.

The billionaire tweeted about his usually secretive company, which is competing with SpaceX, owned by tech mogul Elon Musk, to revolutionize spaceflight with reusable rockets.

“Flawless BE-3 restart and perfect booster landing,” Bezos wrote on Saturday morning, describing the rocket’s descent and engines re-engaging. “Touchdown confirmed.”

In November, Blue Origin became the first private company to land a rocket, launching its New Shepard nearly 63 miles above the Earth and setting it back down at the west Texas site where it took off. In January, the company repeated the feat, and posted video of the landing.

Video of the January New Shepherd launch and landing.

The New Shepard rocket that launched and landed on Saturday had completed the feat before. For the latest launch, Blue Origin re-engaged its engines only 3,600ft above the landing platform, leaving a smaller margin for error. It also carried two experiments, on collisions between objects in microgravity and the soil of near-Earth asteroids.

Unlike Musk, who airs live video of SpaceX’s launches and landing attempts and frequently talks about his hopes for spaceflight, Bezos, the founder of the Amazon retail empire, rarely shares his rocket work with the public. The first two landings were announced only after their completion, and with slickly produced video to accompany them.

He has since let a few journalists into the operation, and promised video and more details of Saturday’s landing.

SpaceX rocket launches then lands safely back on Earth.

SpaceX has also successfully landed a rocket on solid earth, but Musk hopes to land one of his Falcon 9 rockets on a robotic barge. The company has tried repeatedly to complete a landing of a 68m-tall rocket on the barge, most recently in March. Each such attempt has failed – at times with spectacular results.

Both companies hope to dramatically reduce the costs of spaceflight, which still relies on one-use rockets that cost tens of millions of dollars and burn millions’ worth of fuel.

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