Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle successfully flew to space, reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 kilometers) before executing a historic landing back at the launch site in West Texas.

Blue Origin is an American privately-funded aerospace developer and manufacturer set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal of dramatically lower cost and increased reliability. It is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company motto is “Gradatim Ferociter”, Latin for “Step-by-Step, Ferociously” or literally “Gradually Ferocious”. Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space. The company’s name refers to the blue planet, Earth, as the point of origin.