YouTube video: 9pillaOxGCo

Wow. Yesterday, Blue Origin (a space tourism company founded by Jeff Bezos) released the video of their suborbital rocket’s second test launch. The first part of the flight is nearly identical to the one that occurred last year — go up, release the capsule and let it come down under parachutes. The return of the booster is much more impressive: it comes down screaming before halting itself to a stop, hovering and landing softly under its own power.

I don’t care much for the argument that Bezos and Elon Musk got into — yes, what SpaceX is attempting to do by landing its Falcon 9 first stage is harder because the vehicle is going faster, farther, and with a narrower throttle range. But no matter who does it first or best, this is a big achievement. If anything, I’m glad that there is some competition in the reusable rocket market.

And who could deny that this landing looks amazing? I’m intrigued by how much the stage rocks left and right in the first bit of the powered deceleration, almost like it’s over correcting. I’m sure Blue Origin has a whole team of amazing engineers working on that — after all, they landed a rocket — and it’s either meant to be this way, or will be corrected thanks to the data collected during the test.

Congratulations to the whole team behind that launch. It might have been easier than landing a Falcon 9, but it certainly can’t have been easy.