Reusable rocket returns upright In this photo provided by Blue Origin taken on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015, an unmanned Blue Origin rocket blasts off in West Texas. (Blue Origin via AP)
Reusable rocket returns upright
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A private space company has shared that it landed a rocket upright and gently enough to be used again. It is a milestone in commercial aeronautics.
 
Reusing rockets, rather than discarding them, would be a big step toward making space flight less pricey.
 
The success produced "the rarest of beasts: a used rocket," said Jeff Bezos in a statement. He is founder of the company Blue Origin. He also is the CEO of Amazon.com Inc.
 
Another private company, SpaceX, has tried to land boosters upright on a barge in the ocean. So far, it has failed. The company has recorded soft landings on the ground by rockets that flew less than a mile high. That is an altitude far lower than what the new test achieved.
 
Blue Origin said the unmanned flight took place in November. It was at its site in Van Horn in West Texas. The secretive company is based in Kent, Washington. The company did not invite reporters to attend. Its first test flight happened in April.
 
Its New Shepard vehicle consists of a capsule that is designed to take people into space for suborbital flights someday and a booster. In this flight, the booster soared about 62 miles high. Then it released the capsule, which parachuted to the ground.
 
After the separation, the booster began falling back to Earth. It slowed its fall by firing its engine, starting at about 4,900 feet above ground. It was falling at just 4.4 mph when it touched down at the launch site. The rocket was still standing up, the company said.
 
"It's really a major step forward toward reusability," said John M. Logsdon. He is professor emeritus at the George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. Although NASA space shuttles were also reusable after returning to Earth safely, they were far more pricey than rockets, he noted.
 
"The goal here is low-cost reusability," Logsdon said.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is a reusable rocket both rare and desirable?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (172)
  • psean-par
    12/02/2015 - 11:09 a.m.

    I want to know how hard it was to land it up right.

  • manuelm-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:18 a.m.

    Why can't space X achieve?

  • manuelm-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:21 a.m.

    Why is it so hard to do this?

  • nicholass-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:22 a.m.

    Why did they use a rocket upright instead of a spaceship.

  • alexisa-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:26 a.m.

    It is rare and desirable because it was a major step toward reusability because back then they weren't able to reuse the rockets

  • khoai-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:27 a.m.

    Why do they need the rocket?

  • gabrielp-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:28 a.m.

    a reusable rocket is both rare and desirable because astronauts can go to outer space and still can use the rocket to fly again

  • alyzad-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:28 a.m.

    How come NASA wasn't a school instead of George Washington institute?

  • jasminp-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:30 a.m.

    A reusable rocket is both rare and desirable because its hard to find a used rocket. Its also less pricey to use a reusable rocket.

  • alexisa-ali
    12/02/2015 - 11:30 a.m.

    Why is NASA not using the reusable rocket

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