November 30, 2015
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Blue Origin rocket lands upright, achieving 'Holy Grail of rocketry'

In a remarkable feat of engineering, the Blue Origin space exploration company last week sent a rocket 62 miles into the atmosphere then landed it upright back on the launchpad. The descent was so carefully controlled that the rocket landed just 4 1/2 feet from the center of its launchpad.

"It was one of the greatest moments of my life," said Jeff Bezos, who owns Blue Origin. "We are on the verge of a new Golden Age in rocketry. I believe one day all rockets will have landing gear."

Until now, rocket engines have been considered expendable – once they power a capsule into space, they are released to fall as waste back into the ocean. Creating a rocket that can land and be reused will drastically reduce the cost of traveling to space. In his first-ever tweet, Bezos called the used rocket “the rarest of beasts.”

Blue Origin has a remarkable video of the landing.

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Washington Is Already a Climate Leader

Low-Cost, Low-Carbon: The Northwest's 20-Year Energy Plan

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

The Northwest remains an attractive location for job creation due to its low-cost and low-carbon electricity -- companies want to locate here and workers want to work here. On the eve of Governor Inslee's trip to Paris for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, it's an opportunity for him to tout his own state's carbon-reduction leadership.

Rather than spending time focusing on complex, top-down regulatory schemes designed to drive up the cost of energy, leaders should find ways to encourage innovation and collaboration. If they do, Washington can make a great contribution to that discussion.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
Bringing Back Charter Schools

New Task for Lawmakers

By the Editorial Board of The Columbian

Washington lawmakers should add another item to their long to-do list for next year -- bring charter schools into compliance with the state constitution.

First of all, charter schools are the will of the voters. Secondly, in approving charter schools, Washington became the 42nd state to allow them. There seems to be little reason the state cannot learn from other parts of the country and embrace charter systems that work well while eschewing those that do not.

Lawmakers should be beholden to what is best for students -- and that means a well-managed charter school system.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Columbian
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