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NASA moon-landing technology hitches ride to space on Bezos rocket

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company launched a New Shepard rocket for a seventh time from a remote corner of Texas on Tuesday, testing new lunar-landing technology for NASA that could help put astronauts back on the moon.

The entire flight — barely skimming space with a peak altitude of 66 miles (106 kilometers) — lasted just 10 minutes. The booster landed vertically back at the launch complex after liftoff, and the capsule followed, parachuting onto the desert floor.

The capsule carried science experiments, including 1.2 million tomato seeds that will be distributed to schoolchildren around the U.S. and Canada, and tens of thousands of children’s postcards with space-themed drawings that will be returned to the young senders.

NASA’s navigation equipment for future moon landings was located on the booster. The sensors and computer — tested during the booster’s descent and touchdown — will hitch another

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NASA moon-landing tech hitches ride to space on Bezos rocket

“Touchdown! New Shepard, here we go. I’m sorry you couldn’t hear me pounding the desk in my mic,” said launch commentator Caitlin Dietrich.

The capsule carried science experiments, including 1.2 million tomato seeds that will be distributed to schoolchildren around the U.S. and Canada, and tens of thousands of children’s postcards with space-themed drawings that will be returned to the young senders.

NASA’s navigation equipment for future moon landings was located on the booster. The sensors and computer — tested during the booster’s descent and touchdown — will hitch another suborbital ride with Blue Origin.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted congratulations following Tuesday’s demo. The space agency needs the ability to land precisely on the moon at specified locations, he noted.

Texas-based Southwest Research Institute had a magnetic asteroid-sampling experiment on board, as well as a mini rocket-fueling test.

Led by Amazon founder Bezos, Washington state-based Blue Origin is leading

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