Yesterday, rocket company Blue Origin celebrated a successful launch and landed the eighth test flight for Blue Origin's "New Shepard" rocket. Sources say that the launch happened around 1 pm at the Blue Origin launchpad, based in West Texas. This flight marks the first flight of 2018.
Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Blue Origin, LLC is a privately funded aerospace manufacturer which specializes in spaceflight services, which has headquarters in Kent, Washington. This makes sense since Bezos and Amazon are based in Washington. The company was founded in September of 2000 and currently employs around 1,000 people. In an interview with Business Insider's CEO Axel Springer, Bezos said that space exploration is more important than his other business ventures. He called sending humans to outer space "super important to me".
"I believe on the longest time frame — and really here I'm thinking of a time frame of a couple hundred years, so over many decades...that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work I'm doing," Bezos said.
It seems as if Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX are racing side by side to see whose rocket will accomplish more first. Blue Origin has been looking for ways to gain a competitive edge on SpaceX, who got off to a good start over Blue Origin, launching and landing orbital class rockets which held many payloads before Blue Origin had the chance.
One of the ways Blue Origin is trying to gain a leg up on the competition is with its seafaring ship that is said to be able to catch a returning booster without any stopping or landing required.
The company tweeted:
Touchdown of the New Shepard Booster and Crew Capsule! Congrats to Team Blue and our payload customers on board today!— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 29, 2018
Several "payload customers" with custom assignments were aboard on "Mission 8". Some of the payload customers include Suborbital Flight Experiment Monitor-2 (SFEM-2) from NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Schmitt Space Communicator (SC-1X) from Solstar based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Daphnia, EQUIPAGE and EUPHORIE.
Bezos has said that he believes that human space exploration is "integral to humanity's survival". Amazon's CEO has said that he developed a vision for an "interplanetary human society" when he was a child and is basically racing against SpaceX to send human beings into outer space. Bezos has predicted that "heavy industry" could be moved to other planets while space on Earth would be better reserved for living and light industries.
Bezos invests $1 billion every year to Blue Origin. "I'm pursuing this work because I believe if we don't, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing," Bezos said. "[Humans] all enjoy a dynamic civilization of growth and change and space travel is integral to that continuing".
The need for space exploration with the goal of development increases "with every passing year" according to Bezos.