Blue Origin launch details emerge

More details have emerged about how Blue Origin, the privately-funded aerospace company, is planning its launches.

Blue Origin, which is funded by founder Jeff Bezos, has posted a description of how it plans to launch rockets up to and beyond 325,000 feet above sea level (about 62 miles) from its Culberson County, Texas operations center.

The details: a reusable launch vehicle is planned that's able to carry "paying passengers," fueled by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene, launching vertically and landing vertically nearby, and controlled entirely by on-board computers instead of ground control.

Unmanned tests of the launch vehicle are expected by the third quarter in 2006, assuming the relevant government permits can be secured.

Blue Origin's stated purpose, of course, is to foster an "enduring human presence in space."

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