-- Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos said his private spaceflight company Blue Origin has successfully launched a rocket and landed it back on Earth -- a feat that could help make space travel more affordable for the masses.
Launching from Texas on Monday, Bezos' New Shepard crew capsule and propulsion module blasted into space with no passengers on board. After reaching its planned test altitude of 329,839 feet, the vessel returned to Earth, landing upright just four and a half feet from its launch pad, according to Blue Origin.
"When you throw a rocket away, an expendable rocket, you use it once and you throw away all that expensive space hardware," Bezos told ABC News' "Good Morning America" today. "It’d be like getting in your [Boeing] 747 and flying across the country and then throwing it away, just using it one time. Imagine how expensive traveling would be."
Billionaire Elon Musk, who runs SpaceX, has also been hard at work trying to make space flight more affordable. Musk's company has attempted to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a barge after launch. Several attempts have come close but have fallen short.
While this week's achievement is being celebrated, Bezos said his company plans to fly the vehicle "many, many times and then when we're completely confident in it, we're going to start using it to take people into space."
Bezos said additional testing should "take another couple of years." When Blue Origin is ready for passengers, Bezos said he wants to travel to space and fulfill a boyhood dream.
"It's a passion that is deep in my heart," he told "GMA." "By the way, you guys are invited if you want to come."