SEATTLE – Jeff Bezos made headlines earlier this week with what some see as a far-fetched notion of delivering packages from the skies with drones.
But the Amazon.com Inc. founder and chief executive has made progress on an idea that might seem even more improbable: commercial space travel.
Bezos’ side business, Blue Origin, which is developing vehicles to send people to space, has successfully tested a new hydrogen- and oxygen-fueled engine that it hopes to use to lift its rockets with crews out of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Blue Origin disclosed Tuesday that it conducted the test of the BE-3 rocket engine Nov. 20 at the company’s facility near Van Horn, Texas. The company fired the engine for 2 1/2 minutes, paused for several minutes, then re-ignited the engine for 1 minute.
Blue Origin operates separately from Amazon.com.
Indigo Partners to make Frontier low-cost airline
DENVER – The sale of Frontier Airlines to a company that plans to turn it into an ultra-low-cost airline is a done deal.
New owner Indigo Partners LLC has said it will refashion Frontier as an ultra-low-cost airline. Airlines like that, including Spirit Airlines, generally charge low fares but have fees for things like using the overhead bin, or printing a boarding pass at the airport.
William Franke runs Indigo and had been Spirit’s chairman. He says demand is growing for more affordable airline options.
Indigo says Frontier will continue to be based in Denver.
Applebee’s to install tablets at every table
LOS ANGELES – How to deal with boredom at the table and long waits for the check while dining out? Applebee’s is betting on 100,000 tablets.
The casual dining chain is planning to install the technology at every table and many bars at its more than 1,800 locations by the end of 2014.
The E La Carte Presto tablets – powered by Intel – will allow patrons to pay from their seats while also adding food and beverages to their existing orders. A pilot program helped customers save time, according to DineEquity, Applebee’s Glendale, Calif.-based parent company.
The Presto tablets, which were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have been “ruggedized” to deal with the spills and rowdy children common in such restaurants, according to the company.
FDA: Philips’ HeartStart defibrillators not safe
WASHINGTON – Federal health regulators are warning the public not to use certain defibrillators recalled by Philips Healthcare because the heart-shocking devices may fail in an emergency.
Philips recalled three models of its HeartStart devices in September 2012 due to an electrical malfunction. The recall affects about 700,000 defibrillators sold between 2005 and 2012.
The defibrillators are used by emergency responders and others to restore normal heart function in people suffering a heart attack. The FDA says the electrical problem with the devices could cause them to fail to deliver a life-saving shock.
Wichita City Council OKs Cessna bonds
WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita City Council has approved about $40 million in industrial revenue bonds for Cessna.
The council approved the bonds Tuesday, according to the Wichita Eagle. The plane builder says the move should create at least 50 more jobs. The plan calls for Cessna to receive a 100 percent property tax abatement on improvements for five years, with a second five-year term subject to council approval.