US space firm successfully relaunches rocket

Washington, Jan 23 (IANS) The US space firm Blue Origin said it has again successfully launched its suborbital rocket New Shepard, the very same space vehicle that flew outside the special boundary of 100-km altitude and safely landed back on Earth last November.

This time, the unmanned New Shepard reached an altitude of 101.7 km before its crew capsule and booster returned to Earth for recovery and reuse at its launch site in western Texas in the southern US on Friday, Xinhua cited the company as saying in a video statement.

“The first rocket to fly above the Karman line and then land vertically upon the Earth… is now the first to have done it twice,” said the company.

In preparation for Friday’s re-flight, Blue Origin replaced the crew capsule parachutes as well as the pyro igniters, conducted functional and avionic examinations, and made several improvements to the software.

Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin in 2000, said on Friday that currently his company is also developing its own orbital vehicle.

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