Watch Blue Origin’s Rocket Land from Outer Space
As close as you’ll ever get to Superman’s POV.
Elon Musk's SpaceX may be hogging the private space travel news these days, but it's hardly the only private company launching rockets into orbit—or bringing them safely back to Earth. Last month, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's space launch company Blue Origin successfully landed its New Shepherd rocket, vertically, for the third time. And for this go-round, the company strapped a camera to their space craft's leg to provide a rocket's eye-view of what it's like to drop from the the edge of space to the surface of our blue marble.
On its most recent flight, the New Shepherd—named after NASA astronaut Alan Shepherd—successfully reached an altitude of 339,178 feet, comfortably above the 62-mile-high Kármán line that traditionally marks where space begins. But getting up there was the easy part. Returning to earth required decelerating the craft and carefully maneuvering it towards the landing zone—all while keeping the rocket in an aerodynamically-unstable upright posture. If that sounds easy enough to you, then you don't understand physics very well.
Be sure you watch the video all the way through; as amazing as the footage of Earth from 64 miles up is, the best part of the clip comes at the end. It's not until you see the shadow of the spindly, bacteriophage-shaped rocket flying across the desert floor that you realize just how fast this thing is traveling...and it's not until you hear the engines flame and roar as New Shepherd touches down that you realize just how cool this really is.