On July 20, another billionaire is scheduled to take another rocket to the edge of space. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, founded his rocket company, Blue Origin, with a vision of millions of people living and working in space in the future.
But the company’s first vehicle, New Shepard, has much more modest ambitions. Like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, it is designed to take people on short suborbital trips providing about four minutes of weightlessness.
Unlike SpaceShipTwo, New Shepard is a more traditional rocket, launched upward before the capsule detaches from a booster rocket. The booster returns to make a vertical landing, much as the larger Falcon 9 rockets operated by Elon Musk’s SpaceX do, while the capsule descends back to the ground under a parachute.