Jeff Bezos' New Shepard Space Ship Takes Off

There hasn't been much coming from Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, one of the companies NASA selected to develop future manned space vehicles. But this new video provides a glimpse of their New Shepard vehicle taking off and landing vertically.

Unlike traditional methods of putting humans into space which usually involve booster rockets that fall back to Earth when their fuel is spent, the New Shepard is designed to return to the pad under its own power, after launching a crew capsule into a sub-orbital flight path. The brief launch and landing test seen here was originally conducted at the Blue Origin facilities in Texas back in May, before the vehicle was lost in a subsequent test after crews lost communications after launch.

Named after Alan Shepard, the New Shepard is designed to test the feasibility of a reusable booster rocket that will in theory drastically reduce the cost of putting humans, or payloads, into orbit. It's part of NASA's ongoing efforts to find a cost-effective replacement to the Space Shuttle that will allow them to send astronauts, equipment and supplies to the space station. But given how much they can charge for a ticket, using it for space tourism isn't out of the question either. [Wired via Engadget]