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>> Jeff Bezos' rocket company, Blue Origin, taking a big step Wednesday towards making space tourism a reality. A self proclaimed turtle in the space race, the company backed by Amazon's billionaire founder successfully testing the emergency escape pod on its new Shepherd capsule. The safety system check, a major advance in Blue Origin's goal of sending paying customers more than 60 miles above the Earth's surface by 2018.
Might not sound like much, but that's high enough for passengers to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the Earth against the backdrop of space. The new Shepard had flown four times before, each time executing a successful vertical landing. This was the first attempt though, to activate the escape pod and it went better than expected.
Not only did Blue Origin recover the emergency vessel,>> And touchdown.>> But it also got back the booster, which the company had expected would tip over and crash in a fireball>> But instead, landed intact on the desert floor. But even though it survived, the New Shepard won't be taking any more flights.
Bezos has said he plans to retire the rocket to a museum.