Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space company dropped a new video animation Tuesday briefly showing how its New Glenn launch system will work, and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a promo video for rival rocket company SpaceX.
New Glenn blasts off, and then the first rocket stage separates and returns for a landing on what sure looks like a drone-ship landing pad at sea, just like those used by Elon Musk's SpaceX to recover a handful of Falcon 9 rockets over the past year.
Of course, we already knew Blue Origin and SpaceX were both working on similar concepts for recovering and recycling rockets.
SpaceX has received more attention, both for its successes and its failures, over the past few years and is further along in developing its business, but it should be noted that Blue Origin technically beat Musk to the punch with the first successful rocket launch and recovery -- on land at its west Texas facility in 2015.
Blue Origin released the new animation Tuesday morning just as Bezos announced at a satellite conference in Washington, DC that France's Eutelsat will be the first New Glenn customer sometime in 2021-2022. The first flight of New Glenn could come a little sooner, in 2020, according to a statement.
On Monday, Bezos tweeted photos of Blue Origin's first big BE-4 engines, which the company says will be ready to go by 2019.
This comes after Bezos essentially kicked off the next round of the ongoing battle of the billionaires for space by detailing his hopes to create a lunar colony, complete with Amazon-style delivery service. Musk and SpaceX have their own grand vision for Mars and recently announced a plan to send two space tourists on a trip around the moon.
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