Amazon's Bezos Fuels Blue Origin To Successful Space Launch

Blue Origin, the rocket ship company owned by Amazon ( AMZN ) founder Jeff Bezos, launched a reusable suborbital rocket from the company's Texas launch site Tuesday, lifting an unpiloted crew capsule to the edge of space before parachuting back to Earth.

[ibd-display-video id=2117998 width=50 float=left autostart=true] The booster rocket also made a controlled vertical landing , bringing Bezos and his Blue Origin company another step closer to offering tourism rides to space. The Tuesday launch was not preannounced, with the secretive Blue Origin revealing results around 11 p.m. ET. The total mission elapsed time was 10 minutes and 6 seconds, reaching an altitude of about 62 miles.

The Blue Origin launch was the seventh flight of its New Shepard capsule and featured its next-generation booster rocket. The capsule features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall and can carry up to six passengers. On this flight it contained 12 commercial, research and education payloads, including a test dummy. Commercial tourism rides are expected in about 18 months.

"Blue Origin had a successful first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0 today," Bezos wrote in a tweet. "Complete with windows and our instrumented test dummy. He had a great ride."

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, around the same time that Tesla ( TSLA ) Chief Executive Elon Musk founded SpaceX , which has billion-dollar contracts with NASA to ferry supplies to the International Space Station. Plans also call for SpaceX to deliver astronauts back and forth.

Both SpaceX and Blue Origin were self-funded by their founders. Bezos has said he sells about $1 billion in Amazon stock a year to finance his Blue Origin rocket company.

"Today's flight of New Shepard was a tremendous success," said Bob Smith, Blue Origin chief executive in prepared remarks. "It marks the inaugural flight of our next-generation Crew Capsule as we continue step-by-step progress in our test flight program."

IBD'S TAKE: Bezos and Musk, along with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Microsoft ( MSFT ) co-founder Paul Allen, are four billionaires using their fortunes to fulfill a passion for space exploration and tourism . The four have attracted a fleet of venture capitalists, big corporations and other investors into a private-sector space race of sorts.

Musk, when he's not running Tesla, continues to explore his dream of landing humans on Mars. In February, Musk announced that SpaceX will send two paying passengers on a one-week mission around the moon .

Startup space ventures have attracted more than $16.6 billion in investments since 2000. That money has funded 140 new companies, two-thirds of them in the last five years and most of them in the satellite business, according to research firm Bryce Space and Technology. Last year alone, $2.8 billion was pumped into 43 startup space ventures.

Amazon shares ticked down less than 0.1% to close at 1,164.13 on the stock market today . Tesla shares were down 0.6 to finish at 339.03.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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