VAN HORN, Texas – A private space company founded by Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos has launched an unmanned spaceship in its first test flight, the latest development in the commercial space race.
Bezos said in a statement the New Shepard capsule reached 58 miles high and parachuted to a landing in the west Texas desert. The rocket booster developed a pressure problem and couldn’t be recovered.
Bezos’ Blue Origin, which is vying to send people on suborbital trips, tends to be secretive but released video and photos of the flight.
Its website says New Shepard, which can carry at least three people, aims to eventually fly over 62 miles above Earth, the recognized boundary of space.
Last year, competitor Virgin Galactic lost its spaceship when it disintegrated during a test, killing the co-pilot.