Blue Origin succeeds in restarting recycling rocket
In the space race, Amazon founder Bezos beat Elon Musk again. For the first time he succeeded in flying a recycling rocket again. However, Musk plays in a completely different technology class.
Dhe Amazon founder and multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos is in a unique competition with multi-entrepreneur Elon Musk. Everyone wants to have a technological edge when it comes to the successful use of recycling rockets.
Jeff Bezos with his company Blue Origin and his rocket “New Shepard” has now triumphed over Musk’s SpaceX for the second time. For the first time, the same rocket was restarted with the same unmanned capsule on its tip, and it landed again gently on a test site in the US state of Texas.
A milestone in space history. The flight took place on January 22nd, announced Blue Origin on its website. It is part of the company’s secret ritual to document the missions only afterwards.
Managers with different goals
Formally, the team around Jeff Bezos’ company was the first to succeed in the sequence – take off, land, take off again and land again. In fact, the recycling rockets from Bezos and Musk play in completely different technology classes with different goals.
The mission of the single-stage “New Shepard” rocket from Blue Origin with only one engine is technologically considerably simpler than the flights of the Falcon rocket from SpaceX. The Amazon founder aims at space tourism and “suborbital flights”, ie only to the limit of space at a height of 100 kilometers.
To put it simply, it goes up towards space and down again like in a balloon. The capsule is severed at the tip of the flight path and lands on a parachute. Shortly before they hit the earth, small brake rockets are also ignited to gently touch down – like when Russian capsules return from space.
Demanding missions only with SpaceX
The reusable Falcon rocket with its Dragon capsule from SpaceX, on the other hand, is used for technically demanding space missions. It has nine engines in the first stage alone. SpaceX has already managed to fly a turning maneuver in the trajectory of the recycling rocket stage and let the rocket touch down gently on land.
A recent third attempt to land on a sea platform failed again due to a rather banal technical error. The four landing legs were extended, but one was not properly locked.
As a result, the rocket landed on the platform with an accuracy of 1.6 meters, but then fell over and exploded. It is said that SpaceX plans to reuse the rocket stages about ten times. That should save costs.
Bezos won in November
Jeff Bezos had already beaten his rival Elon Musk in November when his rocket company managed the first soft landing of a recycling rocket on land – which the SpaceX authorities did not allow until December 22 in Florida, which then worked immediately on the first attempt.
In addition to his plans for space tourism, Beff Bezos is also involved in the development of a new, powerful rocket engine for large US launch vehicles. For example, the USA is dependent on the supply of Russian engines (RD-180) for its super-reliable Atlas-5 rocket, which sends military satellites into space.
The new US BE-4 engine from Blue Origin is scheduled to fly for the first time in 2019 in the new Vulcan launcher, which is being built by the leading US government rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance (ULA). ULA is in turn the main competitor for SpaceX in the multi-billion dollar business with US state satellites, such as the military. Bezos’ commitment to space travel should not be underestimated, according to the industry.