Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, having already conquered e-books and really fast shipping, has his sights on the stars. His privately owned, super-secretive aerospace company, Blue Origin, successfully tested a new rocket escape system on Friday, launching an emergency capsule prototype 2,307 feet into the air before deploying a landing parachute. (Watch the launch below.) "The Blue Origin team worked hard and smart to pull off this first test of our suborbital Crew Capsule escape system," wrote Bezos on the Blue Origin website. And it's not even the space firm's biggest accomplishment this month, says Space.com:
Earlier this month, the company conducted a test of the rocket engine that will blast the Space Vehicle to orbit, powering it up to its maximum 100,000 pounds of thrust on a stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
In the past three years, NASA, which is beginning to rely on private sector firms like SpaceX to transport crew to and from the International Space Station, has awarded money to Blue Origin to the tune of $26 million. This last test of a "pusher" escape system — which is designed for emergency evacuations before a launch rocket reaches space — is extremely important for the future of the company, says Alex Knapp at Forbes:
This is a key milestone in Blue Origin's steps towards getting its craft certified by NASA for potential use in transporting people and cargo, and the successful test will help guide further design of Blue Origin's spacecraft.
Watch the test here: