Jeff Bezos-run Blue Origin has launched and recovered its New Shepard booster, making its 24th mission finally a success and giving Elon Musk-run SpaceX some real competition.

After its New Shepard rocket took off from West Texas in the US on Tuesday, the booster and crew capsule safely separated mid-flight, with both safely landing back on Earth.

“Capsule touchdown! Congrats to Team Blue on today’s successful mission,” Blue Origin posted on X.

The NS-24 mission carried 33 payloads to space, with more than half from NASA and others from educational institutions. It also had 38,000 postcards from students around the world onboard.

Earlier, Blue Origin scrubbed its New Shepard rocket launch, the first in 15 months, last minute over a ground system issue.

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The successful launch came after the failure in September 2022, when an uncrewed research mission lifted off from Blue Origin’s launch site in West Texas, and seconds after launch, New Shepard’s reusable first-stage booster experienced a serious problem and crashed.

A probe by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited the proximate cause of the mishap as the structural failure of an engine nozzle caused by higher-than-expected engine operating temperatures.

The FAA had instructed Blue Origin to implement 21 corrective actions, including redesigning the engine and nozzle components as well as “organizational changes”.

“Blue Origin must implement all corrective actions that impact public safety and receive a license modification from the FAA that addresses all safety and other applicable regulatory requirements prior to the next New Shepard launch,” the FAA had said in a statement in October.

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Amazon has also signed a contract with SpaceX for three Falcon 9 launches to support deployment plans for Project Kuiper, its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network.