In the ever more exciting space race to commercialise the waters beyond the shore of our cosmic ocean, Amazon has again re-launched its Blue Origin space craft out of our atmosphere and safely returned it to Earth. This time though, it completed a suicide burn, saving fuel, improving efficiency and still bringing every nut and bolt home safe.
As anyone who’s played Kerbal Space Program knows, a suicide burn is the ideal landing method to maximise the efficiency of your fuel stores. It involves firing your engines at 100 per cent thrust at the last possible moment, allowing for a rapid deceleration of the craft, without fighting gravity the entire time. In an atmosphere, it also takes advantage of further air braking as the atmosphere thickens near sea level.
But of course, it’s also much more dangerous. There’s less room for error and in the video documenting Blue Origin’s latest landing attempt and success, you can see how truly nerve racking it is to watch millions of pounds of hardware hurtling towards the Earth before its eventual slow-down.[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YU3J-jKb75g&’]
As much as the landing itself was impressive in its own right though, the truly big take home from this launch of the New Shephard craft, was that it’s the third time this hardware has performed on task. That means that when Amazon eventually opens up its Blue Origin launches to the public, to give them a taste of the edge of our atmosphere and a chance to experience the overview effect, it can do so very efficiently.
Improving that efficiency, and therefore reducing associated costs of launches, has been at the forefront of Blue Origin and Space X’s latest developments, whereby the cost of taking materials or people into orbit is cut by large per cent points. That makes more launches viable and could one day help make space travel something we can all afford.
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KitGuru Says: This is another great achievement for Blue Origin and though some may like to point out that it isn’t as impressive as what Space X is attempting, for its goals, Blue Origin is a fantastic success. Here’s hoping it keeps it up.