Blue Origin, the secretive rocket venture backed by Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos, says this week's first test launch in West Texas was a success - but details are still hard to come by. Over the next four years, Bezos' venture plans to offer passenger rides to the edge of outer space, 62 miles (100 kilometers) up and back, but this first test was an unmanned flight that reportedly went no higher than 1,000 feet (300 meters).
"We're excited to see this successful first flight as we experiment with engine and vehicle designs," Rob Meyerson, Blue Origin's program manager, is quoted as saying in the local newspaper, the Van Horn Advocate.
Blue Origin is based in Kent, Wash., near Bezos' Seattle home base, but about 250 employees and family members converged on the launch site near Van Horn, Texas, to take in the maiden test launch at 7:30 a.m. CT Monday, the Advocate says
"Van Horn was very friendly and welcoming to our staff and their families. The town made us feel very much at home — it made the trip highly enjoyable for everyone," Meyerson told the newspaper.