Rocket lands standing up – level 3

01-12-2015 15:00

“Welcome back New Shepherd!”

A space rocket designed to take off and land standing up has successfully done just that. Blue Origin’s New Shepherd spacecraft took off from West Texas in the US on Monday 23rd November with no one aboard.

“And lift-off.”

On launch, it reached an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometres), breaching the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. It landed back at the launch site eight minutes later.

The pressurized passenger capsule successfully separated from its booster before making a soft touchdown via a set of parachutes, lowering itself vertically.

The rocket is designed to carry six passengers into Earth’s upper atmosphere, where they’ll be able to experience weightlessness.’s founder and head of space private firm Blue Origin is behind the spacecraft, which is also among a handful of companies developing vehicles to carry cargo and paying passengers into space. New Shepherd is likely to fly in the first instance as a platform for science, allowing researchers to run experiments during the few minutes of weightlessness experienced in the capsule at the top of its arc.

Difficult words: altitude (height in relation to sea level), breach (to pass a point), pressurized (there’s tolerable atmospheric pressure maintained), capsule (a small spacecraft with the crew), booster (rocket), founder (a person who founded – started something), platform (an area to do some sort of work), arc (something which is in the shape of an arc – a curved shape).



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