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Jeff Bezos

Reusable rocket: In a first, booster returns safely to Earth

A private space company announced Tuesday that it had landed a rocket upright and gently enough to be used again, a milestone in commercial aeronautics.

Reusing rockets, rather than discarding them, would be a big step toward making space flight less expensive.

The achievement produced "the rarest of beasts: a used rocket," Jeff Bezos, founder of the company Blue Origin, said in a statement. He is the CEO of Inc.

Another private company, SpaceX, has tried to land boosters upright on a barge in the ocean but so far has failed. It has recorded soft landings on the ground by rockets that flew less than a mile high, an altitude far lower than what the...