We’ve known for a long time that founder Jeff Bezos has been
building a supersecret spacecraft in his remote Texas lair. We knew the
company was called Blue Origin but didn’t really know what his vehicle
looked like or what his grand plan was, other than to be a part of the
nascent space-tourism business. But this week, a video- and image-rich
bonanza suddenly surfaced on his Web site, cleverly disguised as a
help-wanted ad. The fact that he unveiled his very smart-looking
spacecraft is big news. The fact that he also demonstrated it with a
successful test flight is startling and absolutely historic, given that
nobody else in the current crop of private-sector, dot-com-funded space
entrepreneurs has come anywhere close to test-flying a vehicle of that
scale. The program is called New Shepard, and the first vehicle,
modeled on the McDonnell Douglas DC-X Delta Clipper program from the
early 1990s, is respectfully named Goddard. The first flight, on
November 13, achieved an altitude of 285 feet and landed safely. Look
for more info soon about the technology hidden inside that slick piece
of ice-cream-coney rocketry in the pages of Popular
.—Eric Adams

Link via Blue Origin