New Shepard's Crew Capsule also carried a more efficient reaction control system algorithm that would yield a "Big performance win if it works," Bezos added. Cameras on flying drones were in place to capture the feat.
Blue Origin also packed two science experiments onboard the Crew Capsule during the test flight.
One experiment, called the "Box of Rocks" Experiment," was exactly like it sounds: a box of rocks launched into space to observe how the rocks move in weightlessness. The experiment was designed by researchers at the Southwest Research Institute to understand how rocky soil on small asteroids moves.
The second experiment, called the Collisions in Dust Experiment, was created by researchers at the University of Central Florida. It included a marble that would be dropped into a bed of dust to study how collisions between particles in the early solar system worked.
By developing a reusable rocket, Blue Origin hopes to lower dramatically the cost of its launches. The company in not alone in this pursuit. Its competitor SpaceX, founded by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is also pursuing reusable rocket technology for its Falcon 9 rockets.
In December, SpaceX landed the first stage of its orbital Falcon 9 rocket on land, becoming the first entity ever to accomplish this feat during an orbital launch; the company has also made several nearly successful tries to land the booster on an ocean platform. SpaceX, however, has not yet reused a Falcon 9 rocket stage, though the company says that is a goal for 2016.
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