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Jeff Bezos's Space Company Reveals Some Secrets

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the getting-some-details dept.

Space 240

An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Bezos's commercial spaceflight company, Blue Origin, has kept its plans secret to better compete with rivals such as Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. But in order to build its launch facility in West Texas, it has revealed some details of its future operations: Blue Origin's Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) will carry three or more passengers on suborbital, ballistic trajectories to altitudes in excess of 325,000 feet above sea level. It will launch vertically and land vertically, and will use hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as propellants. It will operate autonomously under control of on-board computers, with no ground control. Blue Origin plans a maximum rate of 52 launches per year."

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Space company? (2, Funny)

slimey_limey (655670) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802580)

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon guy, has a space company? That's plenty of revelation for me!

Next: eBay (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802705)

Next thing you know, eBay will offer spaceflights, too. Just read the negative feedback carefully, and look for things like:

"The TANG was stale"

"Space captain farted in airlock and refused to provide refund"

"Unsecured lunch lockers: tribbles ate my sandwich"

"I am a smoker, and was told that smokers had to step outside during spaceflight. Do NOT buy!"

Re:Space company? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802756)

Yes! And you get free shipping if you buy $1,000,000.00 or more!

Re:Space company? (2, Funny)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802955)

And you get free shipping if you buy $1,000,000.00 or more!

But just think of the commissions you'd earn from the affiliate program! Where do I sign up?

Read my AdSense blog [memwg.com]: high-paying keywords, the Long Tail, and other fun stuff

Re:Space company? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803213)

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon guy, has a space company? That's plenty of revelation for me!

It may not be as surprising as you think:

The Blue Origin RLV would be comprised of a propulsion module and a crew capsule and would use hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as propellants.

The RLV would launch vertically from a concrete pad and would land vertically in an area near the launch pad.

The RLV would carry three or more passengers per operation.

Blue Origin proposes to locate its launch facility on privately-owned property in Culberson County, Texas.

Now maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't this sound a LOT like the Aramadillo Aerospace [armadilloaerospace.com] craft? And why Texas? Nevada or Utah are closer to Mr. Bezos and probably have cheaper land. Not to mention that the specs on this thing align perfectly with the X-Prize goals. Now I realize that Armadillo has officially moved on to LHOx propellant, but perhaps they sold off their old technology? And LHOx is only a necessary fuel if the craft is planning to go orbital. For suborbital flights, far less powerful rockets are required.

Mr. Caramack or Mr. Bezos, if you're reading this, how about giving us the 411?

Cue the unmanned spaceflight mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802584)

Cue the unmanned-spaceflight-is-the-only-way-to-go zealots...

Re:Cue the unmanned spaceflight mob (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802662)

"Cue the unmanned-spaceflight-is-the-only-way-to-go zealots..."

I suggest a compromise with these "unmanned spaceflght zealots". We send each of them up in a manned spaceflight. At some pre-determined point, the spacecraft is programmed to become unmanned due to explosive decompression of the passenger compartment. Then, the flight continues on, unmanned. Everybody's happy.

Re:Cue the unmanned spaceflight mob (2, Interesting)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802685)

Then, the flight continues on, unmanned. Everybody's happy.
I think something like "Nobody onboard would care." is more appropriate, but that's just me.

Re:Cue the unmanned spaceflight mob (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802701)

Since the only real use for this sort of suborbital flight that isn't already adequately served by other methods (like high-flying aircraft) is tourism, unmanned flights wouldn't really work very well in this case.

Re:Cue the unmanned spaceflight mob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802770)

Cue the "clueless tourists think that 3% of the energy required to reach orbit is somehow 'spaceflight'" fanboys.

Gonna be rich (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802786)

"Cue the "clueless tourists think that 3% of the energy required to reach orbit is somehow 'spaceflight'" fanboys."

Better yet, charge the rubes $3000. Then ship them down to Disneyworld on $179 "Jet Blue" flights. Tell them they are really in Cape Kennedy, and to ignore the perv in the Tigger costume. Have them ride "Space Mountain" a few times while telling them they are really in orbit. Then send 'em home.

Re:Gonna be rich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12803111)

You could take most Americans to any other country and tell them they were in space, it's not like they could tell the difference !

Culberson County (5, Funny)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802596)

I don't know about this one. "Culberson County, we have a problem" just doesn't have a good ring to it.

Re:Culberson County (2, Funny)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802644)

Yeah, neither does 'onboard computer to paying tourists... onboard computer to paying tourists... take your protein pills and sign your indemnity contract'...

Re:Culberson County (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802890)

Just thinking about maybe a backup launch site would be at the city of Valera, next to Coleman county. The reason being is that Valera isn't the edge of nowhere, but you can see it from main street.

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802602)

Yeeeah! FIRST POST!!!

What an increibly underwhelming site (2, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802603)

Is this actually a real venture or just a pipe dream to conveniently write tax dollars off against?

Re:What an increibly underwhelming site (3, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802667)

Pipe dream. Like the Red Hat Center (now the Center for the Public Domain) for Mr. Bob Young.

Price? (3, Interesting)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802604)

Any idea on how much tickets are going to cost?

Re:Price? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802724)

Exactly US $TOOMUCH. Don't know exactly what that is in Euros, though.

Re:Price? (4, Funny)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802860)

Exactly US $TOOMUCH. Don't know exactly what that is in Euros, though.

€5,64. Gotta love the current exchange rates!

Prediction... (4, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802606)

Look for life insurance policies to have a new clause added to explicitly exclude coverage in the event of a spacecraft mishap (if they don't already have such a clause).

NASA folks have it. (3, Informative)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803135)

Not really on topic, or of any use whatsoever, but NASAs group life indurance policy (as of 10 years ago) actually did include loss of life due to space craft disaster.

Re:Prediction... (5, Interesting)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803160)

There are a few standard hospital diagnosis codes for spacecraft accidents:
spacecraft accident ground crew
spacecraft accident occupant
spacecraft accident person (non-crew)
falling in a spacecraft (I guess that means floating into something)
and the generic spacecraft accident

Being almost too young to remember Challenger we'd kid around about these at work until Columbia.

No problems here (5, Funny)

DragonMageWTF (887275) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802618)

will use hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as propellants. It will operate autonomously under control of on-board computers, with no ground control.

No problems what so ever. Sounds incredibly safe to me.

Re:No problems here (5, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802788)

It is, all the rocket side of the business will be subcontracted to Acme, they have been in the business for years and really know their stuff.

Re:No problems here (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802894)

I'm trying to fit something with "Major Tom" in here, but the possibilities are just too wide to focus it down. Maybe I need to take a protein pill.

Re:No problems here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12803073)

If I come back blonde, Ill sue.

Landing vertically (5, Informative)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802620)

I'm assuming they mean they're going to use 'chutes to land - landing on reverse thrusters or what have you in earth's gravity well could be fairly fuel expensive, and doesn't make much sense.

Re:Landing vertically (5, Funny)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802757)

Actually, it's not too bad. You need about 10% of the landing weight of the vehicle to be fuel.

However, it more or less has to be computer controlled descent; the timing is a bit critical.

The description I heard was:

You're coming in and you think the engines should fire soon, otherwise you're going to die.

Then you think it's got to fire now, otherwise you're dead.

Then you fall some more.

Then you *know* your going to die.

And then they fire, and then you land.

Then you go change your trousers.

Re:Landing vertically (1)

blixel (158224) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802768)

I'm assuming they mean they're going to use 'chutes to land - landing on reverse thrusters or what have you in earth's gravity well could be fairly fuel expensive, and doesn't make much sense.

They'll be using cavorite.

Here's a problem set for you: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802857)

Estimate the fraction of the launch mass of the ship which must be dedicated to fuel to achieve the mission's desired trajectory.

Estimate the terminal velocity of the rocket as it approaches the surface after the mission.

What fraction of the ship's mass must be used as fuel to come to rest from terminal velocity it lands purely under rocket power? How does the fraction depend on the time to choose a landing site?

Is this is this a large or small amount compared to the initial fuel fraction?

Now, how much mass would needed if a parachute or paraglider was used to come to rest instead?

Is the difference in mass fractions significant? Which system is easier to maintain? Which is more reliable?

These are the sorts of questions you have to consider when you are thinking about spacecraft design. It's worthwhile to work this through... none of the steps are particularly complicated, and as you go along and think it through you'll see that there are interesting reasons to go either way.

Re:Here's a problem set for you: (5, Informative)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802962)

Well, in a nutshell -

The amount of GPE gained during an ascent requires X amount of fuel.

Descent requires no fuel to move downwards, however K.E. will be accumulated equal to the sum of the GPE and disippated thermal energy.

Therefore the amount of fuel required to stop a descent is less than that required to ascend.

To be honest, the best solution would probably be a combination of the two - drogue chute, main chute (both lightweight and easily re-deployable in future missions), which ensure a low velocity, and also proper alignment for the retro-rockets, which could be used for final touchdown (much like several mars missions).

And yes, I am a rocket scientist. :)

Re:Here's a problem set for you: (1)

jdray (645332) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803053)

So, is there ever a point during ascent where aborting the climb and returning to the launch pad requires more fuel than is available? Abort before apogee requires more fuel than riding it out, but you've got extra fuel because you aborted (theoretically). But is there a "point of no return" zone where you have to press on?

Re:Here's a problem set for you: (2, Informative)

madaxe42 (690151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803153)

Well, yeah - the most fuel-inefficient mode would be to attempt to decelerate immediately after reaching your maximum upwards velocity - it's far more efficient to let gravity do the work for you... Apogee is only defined by the point at which your vertical velocity relative to the surface is zero, so apogee is effectively whenever you choose it. Attempting to slow at any point before apogee is, however, just silly.

Re:Here's a problem set for you: (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803156)

Hopefully you make sure you had enough fuel available before you left the launch pad - presumably you are intending to come back at some point ?

Unlimited flights for $79 a year? (5, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802623)

"Blue Origin's Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) will carry three or more passengers"

As long as the passengers after the flight are reusable too, it should be a workable, safe plan. However, could we claim spaceflights under the "Amazon Prime Plan", which claims "Unlimited shipping privileges cost just $79 per year"? After all, it all boils down to being shipped by Amazon.

Re:Unlimited flights for $79 a year? (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802653)

Yeah, but you would have to make the whole journey in a brown box with a smile on it.

Re:Unlimited flights for $79 a year? (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802766)

Yep, I think a $79 space flight would count as a brown box experience.
The smile would have to be a rictus though..

Jeff Bozo, MY WORD OF ADVICE TO YOU (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802627)

Though we encourage sexual experimentation, getting too creative can sometimes be a very, very bad thing. Here our readers share some of the masturbation disasters. Learn from their mistakes! 1. With a tambourine It was just before my A-level exams and I was masturbating to relax my nerves. I decided to stick my cock inside the thumb-hold of a tambourine on my desk ... Big mistake, because what went in when I was soft wouldn't come out when I was hard, and it was damn painful too. And of course the blood took ages to leave my cock because the veins were blocked by the constriction. So I had to lie down for ages and ended up getting to my exam late. D'oh! 2. With a bicycle pump I had heard the term "blow job," but didn't really have a clue what it meant. So, I thought I'd experiment. I got out my bicycle pump, placed the valve on my urethra, and pumped that handle down hard, expecting to feel pleasures beyond my wildest dreams! AHHHHHH! My groin hurt for weeks as I think I tore something inside, but was too ashamed to tell anyone. I really felt stupid. Everything seemed to work fine once I just started masturbating. 3. With an RC truck I was fooling around with my battery-operated RC truck. It was upside down and has little bumps on the tires of the truck. I wanted to know how it felt on my cock, so I tried it for a little bit. Unfortunately, it gradually caused me to bleed on the head of my cock. You can barely see the scar now, but it wasn't smart using my RC truck. It hurt and I never did it again! 4. With a hard plastic love doll I don't know of any guys who have a fake pussy to fuck. So I bought one. I tried freezing it (it's weird to do it with an ice-cold pussy) and then I tried heating it. Ouch!! Too hot! Then I just fucked it hard and fast. I pulled out during one of my strokes and jammed my dick on the hard plastic lid part of the toy. It sliced my dick and I had to get four stitches. I told the doctor that I had dropped a knife to cause the damage. 5. With hot sauce Well, I tried using some hot sauce on my cock while masturbating, and it felt like hell! I'm writing this just to tell other people to NEVER DO THIS!! It is the worst thing you will ever feel. 6. With a pen I was masturbating with a capped pen up my anus at about 1 o'clock in the morning. My parents were in the next room so I tried to keep it quiet, but I had a amazing orgasm (or at least from what I have experienced). I stopped before I moaned but when I pulled the pen out, the cap (which was on the pen to keep it from poking me) wasn't on it. I could feel the tip of the cap in my anus, but when I tried to get it out by pushing my anus muscles I couldn't and it went completely in my anus. I was so scared and I couldn't tell my parents. I tried all night to get it out and finally fell asleep. The next day I still tried in vain to get it out, but finally that evening I took a crap and it came out. Whew! I had never been so scared in my life. 7. With shampoo During my first semester at college I found that I had a lot of time to masturbate. One night I decided to masturbate, so I put some porn in the DVD player and tried to find some lotion to use as lube. I couldn't find any, so I figured that I could use some shampoo. While I was whacking off it felt really good! The shampoo had a tingling sensation on my cock. Unfortunately, I did not know that the shampoo dries your skin out. My cock's skin got really tight and started to crack, much like chapped lips. It hurt like hell as the skin fell off my cock to reveal new pink skin underneath. I'm fine now, but I always make sure I have some KY on hand! 8. With wire I saw an anecdote on the Internet once about how Arabs masturbate and I decided to try it! It involves inserting a long wire into the urethra and down the length of the erect penis. Long story short, the wire didn't follow the path precisely and I ended up stabbing my penis from the inside. I was in the hospital for three days. 9. With toothpaste I was experimenting with different lubes, and one time I tried toothpaste. At first it was strange yet nice, but when I was done some of the toothpaste went inside me. It burned like hell for about 20 minutes, and I was in the shower trying to cool it. 10. With chewing gum One day I was chewing some Big League Chew gum. It felt so soft and gooey in my mouth that I decided to rub it on my dick. It was the worst decision I ever made! As I was rubbing it on my dick, the gum got caught on my pubes. I got in the shower and spent like an hour trying to get the stuff off. Then I finally decided just to cut my pubes off with some scissors. I had no pubes left. 11. With Jalapeno peppers I was making chili with jalapeno peppers, about the hottest kind that you can get. While I was chopping them I didn't realize that the juice and oil in the peppers would burn more as time went on. Later I was stroking my cock and realized that not only were my hands now burning from the pepper oil, but now my whole shaft was burning too! I stopped immediately and tried to wash it off, but I found that it takes something like baking powder to neutralize the acid. Too late!! I felt my cock burning for about a day after that and I couldn't stop thinking about it as a result. I still managed to get in a few orgasms though! Now I wear gloves when handling spicy foods! 12. With a TV remote One night I was home alone and watching TV. I suddenly "got that urge" and needed to hump something fast. All I could find to use that was remotely close to a dildo was, ironically, the remote. It was fairly good-sized and I was forcing it in and out of my pussy and rubbing my clit at the same time, and the buttons felt INCREDIBLE. So after I came, I took the remote out and wiped it off on my pants, and started to use it ... but it didn't work! I changed the batteries, I cleaned it as best I could, but all my cum had totally clogged and fried the thing! So I had to throw it against the wall until it looked plenty broken and then I told my parents I stepped on it. 13. With a pencil I'm a guy. I was in college, and feeling pretty down on myself at the time for reasons to do with my sexual identity. I was masturbating, and I had begun to explore inserting long and skinny, smooth objects into my urethra/the tip of my penis. One night I had been drinking, and had just had a fairly disappointing sexual encounter with an also-drunk classmate, a gal. Anyhow, I was just experimenting while learning that I preferred guys. So I was back at my dorm, alone, jacking it, and I inserted a pencil, eraser-end first, into my penis. It was clean and new, but the metal edges were a lot sharper than I was realizing, me being intoxicated and all. It hurt, but that seemed okay. But when I shot, the cum came out with a lot of blood. I was horrified! The next day, it burned when I pissed, but it seemed to have healed. However, as a result, years down the road, I have ongoing pain in the section of my urethra where the eraser's metal band cut, and I am prone to PAINFUL urethra infections in this same section of "road." It's really stupid that I still hit myself in the head over this, but there's really nothing to be done save for going to a doctor, which I suppose is the next step. Life sure is funny! Humorously enough, of all my entire life, this is probably one of my very few regrets. It was a case of self-mutilation that was a consequence of my feeling really down on myself. Dumb duhdumb duhdumb, oh well! 14. With duct tape One morning after I woke up I was feeling right randy, and I guess a little loony as well! So what did I do? Well, I opened up a chest in my room and got a ring of duct tape, taped it around my little friend, and started to wank. It did not work too good, and now that I think about it, I don't see how it could have, but I was very tired at the time so you can't blame me. I was feeling right loony. But anyway, the duct tape was very tight and started to cut off blood flow. I couldn't get it off so I ran around the house trying to find something to cut with. I found a knife and then started to cut the tape and then "OUCH!" I stabbed myself right in my willy! I had to run to the docs for help and from there to the hospital! I didn't want my penis to come out looking like hamburger meat so I has to swallow my pride and let them remove the tape at the hospital. But my willy came out fine in the end! 15. With a candle I was masturbating with a candle like I usually do, but I couldn't find my usual one, so I decided to use a teal-colored one. After cumming multiple times I pulled the candle out and realized it was faded white.... I went to the bathroom to clean myself up and my cum was teal. I'll never use that candlestick again; now I only use white ones! 16. With a curling iron When I was first learning about my sexuality and how it all works I decided to try masturbating with a curling iron. It was the kind that is a dual curling iron and straightener in one. At first I thought it was locked and it wasn't, so I tried to lock it and it pinched my insides. That hurt bad enough, let alone a short while after when I realized it was turned on!! I was in pain for about two weeks and, needless to say I never used a curling iron again! 17. With magnets One time I put two neodymium magnets on each side of my scrotum. They slammed together and the magnetic force was so tremendous I couldn't remove them without tools. I took two pairs of pliers and pulled like hell. They came off but I couldn't feel my sack until the next day, when it hurt like hell. 18. With a Barbie shoe I was masturbating and saw a tiny Barbie shoe. I managed to stick it into my pussy but it got stuck, and when I managed to grab the end of it, the shoe just slipped further in. I managed to sneak into the kitchen without being spotted by my mother and took a spoon from the kitchen drawer, which I stuck in me and eventually used to scoop the shoe out. I threw it in the garbage and now I never do that anymore!! 19. With a shampoo bottle This actually happened a couple months ago. I do not own any sex toys, so when I want to masturbate my anus, I have to do it with my finger. Well, one night a couple months ago, I decided to try to find something a little bigger. I found one of those travel-size shampoo bottles under my bathroom sink. I lubricated it and started it using it on myself. I was rather enjoying it, until my fingers became too slippery and the bottle was sucked out of my hands and up into my rectum. When I tried to get it out, the bottle some how turned sideways and was stuck. I couldn't go to the hospital since my mother works there. I just had to wait until it came out own, or I was able to get it. It took three days to get it out, and another seven days before I was able to fully sit down again. Never will I do that again. 20. With Liquid Heat I was into masturbating with men's colognes for lubes. My father used this stuff called Heat for his back and I thought it had a wonderful scent and it turned me on. One day my parents were out and I snuck into their room and took my father's cologne Heat. I went into my room and stripped down, laid on my bed, and got myself hard. Then I got some of the Heat and put it on my balls and cock and started to jack off. I had the most intense orgasm! I laid there for about 10 minutes and then got up to take a shower, mainly because this stuff was starting to burn. I got in the shower and when the warm water hit my balls and cock the heat intensified. I was in agony. Soap wouldn't wash it off. I was sore for days. Little did I know that my dad used the Heat for back pain relief. Stupid, stupid, stupid!! Never again! 21. With a banana I started to explore different methods of masturbation, particularly focusing on the integration of phallic objects into my routines. One night, as my family slept, I crept downstairs into the kitchen and stole a banana from the fruit basket. When I got back to my room, I began to masturbate with it. Eventually I climaxed, and as I did, I felt/heard this odd "pop." So I immediately attempted to pull the banana out. Upon some exertion, I found myself staring at half a banana; the entire thing had exploded from my bodily heat and the pressure of orgasm. I ended up spending nearly 20 minutes sitting on the toilet, trying vainly to push the other half of the banana out. Unfortunately, the stickiness of the hot mashed banana was impeding its path out, and it was too far up for me to reach. Eventually it slid out, and I spent a great deal of time in the shower trying to rid myself of the banana smell and stickiness ... fortunately, I managed to keep quiet enough and not wake anyone. To this day, I have never used any other phallic-shaped foods to masturbate, nor can I stand to eat bananas anymore. 22. With a banana wrapped in plastic wrap Well, my husband is a wonderful man, but he is also physically incapable of having sex. So one day while he was SUPPOSED to be out of town on a business trip, I decided to masturbate. I peeled a banana, wrapped it in Saran Wrap, and went at it. Suddenly, I realized that the Saran Wrap had come off and the banana had squished out into my pussy. This was not pleasant. So I was sitting there in the bathtub, trying to get the squashed banana out of me, when, SURPRISE! My husband walked in. Turns out that his flight had been delayed. It was mortifying! I was trying to think of a way to get myself out of this when he suddenly started laughing. For some reason, this just made me feel worse. I finally did get the banana out, and my husband never brought the incident up again. But I will NEVER, EVER masturbate with fruit EVER again! 23. With a glass cigar case I was really horny and wanted to wank, but I felt like doing something a little unusual and kinky. I found one of those cylindrical cigar cases, and it was hard and smooth and I put some vegetable oil on it and shoved it all the way up my ass. I had a great jerk with the toy against my prostate, and when I came my ass contracted and shot the toy out of my ass and onto the floor. It turns out the cigar case was made of GLASS, and it broke all over the place. I was freaked out about what would have happened if it had broken in my ass! 24. With melted chocolate One time I melted chocolate and I used it to masturbate, and I fell asleep with it in my hand. When I woke up my hand was all sticky with chocolate, but I still got off good! It kicked ass! But, only problem was, the chocolate was so hot from me melting it that it hurt/was good at the same time. It turns out that I had first-degree burns from a chocolate bar! Never use anything that you just nuked in the microwave. Ow!!! 25. With a penis pump In return for buying $50 worth of erotic literature and videos from a certain company, I was given the choice of receiving either a free dildo or a penis vacuum. Not being gay or otherwise interested in inserting anything into my ass, I opted for the masturbation pump. I had never seen one up close, but my first impression was that it looked very cheaply made. It was little more than a fleshy latex sleeve, tube, and bulb. I'm far from hung but somehow on my first attempt my only partially aroused penis immediately filled the tube, thus preventing the escape of air. And because of the suction, I had trouble losing my erection. By the time the sleeve finally split, my penis was ridiculously bright red, swollen around the glans, and smarting at the urethra. I threw the contraption away and promised myself that from that point on I'd stick to my hand and the female anatomy. Thank God I didn't go for the dildo! I might've been slain. 26. With Lava soap I used to work in a plastics molding plant and my hands would get quite dirty. I always kept Lava bar soap in the shower to get them clean. One morning I was showering in the dark and grabbed the Lava instead of the Ivory soap to slick up my penis and masturbate. I didn't know the difference until I was done and my penis was rubbed raw by the abrasives in the soap. 27. With homemade lube I like to masturbate with lubricant. One day, I wanted to use lubricant but the tube had been empty for quite some time, so I decided to make my own lube. Instead of simply using petroleum jelly, I mixed together Palmolive dish soap and water. I began to feel a painful irritation, but in the excitement, I didn't stop until I'd cum. The next morning, my balls seemed just like they where grilled. They were covered in red spots and my skin was textured like melted plastic wrap. I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing, thinking it would be okay in a couple of days. Not exactly! I was pulling off dead skin for at least a week!! 28. With incense Probably one of the stupidest things I have ever done, I did in a state of drunken horniness. It had been more than six months since I had last had sex, and I was practically screaming for an outlet. After seven homemade tequila benders, I went upstairs to begin a long session of humping my pillow. After several minutes, I was exhausted and seemingly out of juice. That's when I spotted the incense next to my bed. I grabbed it and inserted the narrow end into the tip of my penis. Then, in what was probably a stroke of drunken genius, I lit the other end, thinking that the erotic sensation of a flaming scented piece of wood would really get me off. Unfortunately, I was more tired after the pillow session than I realized, and in my drunken state, I passed out with the incense still inserted into my manhood. When I woke up, the incense had burned all the way down and effectively cauterized my penis. No way in, no way out. To add insult to injury, the remaining shard of incense had contracted too far in for me to move my legs without sharp, wrenching, stabbing, burning pain. It really, really, really hurt!! I had to go to the ER and get my dick effectively reopened at the tip, as well as have surgery to remove the loose piece of incense from my gallbladder. However, after spending a week in traction and then walking around with a safety hold in my dick to stop the burns from healing together and cutting off my opening, I am none the worse for wear other than a small scar and a strange new phobia of scented products. I am never introducing a foreign object into such a vital part of my anatomy ever again. 29. With bicycle spokes When I was younger and uncircumcised, it felt good to play with my foreskin. One day, I got the bright idea to let the spokes in an old exercise bike "vibrate" my foreskin. (Think playing card in bicycle spokes.) Well, I was using the peddles to spin the wheels when I lost track of what I was doing. My dick got caught in the chain and then it got pulled through the chain guard!! Needless to say, I am now circumcised! I'm embarrassed by it, but the cut was pretty straight and the doctors were amazing, so to the untrained eye my dick just looks a little lumpy in places (which isn't necessarily a BAD thing, mind you). And yes, I still have sex. (But I stay away from those exercise bikes with spokes! Eek!) 30. With a deodorant stick One day I was masturbating with a deodorant stick with the top on. My pussy was so tight, though, that the top kept coming halfway off every time I pulled it out of me, so I put some tape around the top to keep it on. I put the deodorant stick in my pussy and went in and out and so on, and when I was finished, I saw that the tape had slipped off the deodorant cap while it was inside me. I don't know what happened to that tape, but it was about five years ago and I've been to the gyno about 10 times and they say everything looks "just fine," so maybe it came out sometime later and I didn't know about it! 31. With clove oil One time I thought I saw something called "love oil" among my mom's various herbal remedies, essential oils, etc. She was busy elsewhere in the house, so I locked myself in the bathroom and tried it on my penis. I didn't even get to start masturbating, it stung so badly--turns out it was actually clove oil (quite a potent substance), and the "c" had worn off the bottle. As with the Tabasco story, the moral is, don't put weird shit on your dick.

not as safe as Virgin Galactic? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802631)

The Scaled/VG approach will use a safer fuel, I believe.

interface (5, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802636)

Apparently, the interface for the vehicle will be a single button with the word "click" stenciled underneath it.

Re:interface (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802773)

From the article:

"Astronauts will be protected from massive the G-forces of liftoff by being shrink-wrapped to a piece of cardboard and surrounded on three sides by AirPak (TM)."

Sign me up! (4, Funny)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802646)

It will operate autonomously under control of on-board computers, with no ground control.
Sounds great! Put me on the list, with one provision: if an announcement is made that "Microsoft will partner with Blue Origin to provide software" then forget it, I'm not goin'

Re:Sign me up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802774)

Sounds great! Put me on the list, with one provision: if an announcement is made that "Microsoft will partner with Blue Origin to provide software" then forget it, I'm not goin'

I'd feel perfectly safe getting inside, because the thing would never leave the ground. :)

Welcome to Van Horn, Texas! (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802664)

As a public service, here are some facts about Culberson County, Texas [culberson.tx.us].

* The county seat is Van Horn [google.com].

* As you can see by the satellite photo [google.com], the rugged Guadalupe Mountains meet the barren, flat Llano Estacado.

* Culberson County includes the highest point in Texas, part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park [nps.gov].

* Road geeks will appreciate the significance of this fact: Van Horn is the western terminus of U.S. Highway 90 [geocities.com].

* Due to the lack of water, tourism and mining are the only sources of income. For details on how the county's 3,407 souls bide their time while waiting for the new spaceport to be built, see the Handbook of Texas Online [utexas.edu].

And in the tongue-in-cheek words of singer-songwriter Brian Burns [coquet-shack.com]:

Welcome to Texas,
Don't anybody get me wrong;
We're glad y'all came to see us,
Just don't forget to go back home.

Re:Welcome to Van Horn, Texas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802747)

I'd rather go to hell than texas.

Re:Welcome to Van Horn, Texas! (3, Funny)

VikingDBA (446387) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802868)

"I'd rather go to hell than texas."

It's just a bit further down the road, just keep goin'.

Re:Welcome to Van Horn, Texas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802899)

I thought they were the same?

Re:Welcome to Van Horn, Texas! (2, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803069)

* As you can see by the satellite photo [google.com], the rugged Guadalupe Mountains meet the barren, flat Llano Estacado

I see quite a few stains in that photo. Looks like they've been making test flights already!

Good trick (3, Interesting)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802690)

[...]would operate autonomously under control of on-board computers,

Didn't know anyone had systems relable enough for civilian passengers (i.e. not NASA, military, etc.) to do this yet (or maybe it's all in the disclaimer you have to sign beforehand :)...

with no ground control during nominal flight conditions[...]

So they will have ground control during less than nominal flight conditions?

not bad (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802717)

at one launch per week, it wouldnt take more than a year or two to send prety much everyone i dont like into space. ^_^

Wheee Competition! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802720)

So now there are two companies willing to take us into the upper stratosphere..

Will it only be half as unaffordable?


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52 Launches a year? (5, Funny)

lintocs (723324) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802721)

I guess weekly launches aren't unattainable, as long as there's no requirement for an equal number of landings, and a large supply of launch vehicles.


Cart, horse (5, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802742)

I don't know. To me this is like the Wright brothers announcing their new airline and airport before ever flying at Kittyhawk.


Re:Cart, horse (1)

macklin01 (760841) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802798)

From the article:

"Operations at the launch facility would include development testing, pre-flight processing and flight, landing and recovery activities." -- Paul

Missiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802765)

So we're coming to the day when cheap intercontinental ballistic missiles will be available to all. Thank you to Jeff and all the
wealthy amateur space enthusiasts.

Re:Missiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12802791)

So we're coming to the day when cheap intercontinental ballistic missiles will be available to all. Thank you to Jeff and all the
wealthy amateur space enthusiasts.

Carrying people and cargo instead of nuclear weapons. Quite an improvement I'd say.

Re:Missiles (3, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802835)

"[cheap intercontinental ballistic missiles] Carrying people and cargo instead of nuclear weapons. Quite an improvement I'd say."

You are going to have to have an awfully slick sales pitch to get over the fact that the flights always end with 600 mp/h impact at former Soviet Union strategic targets. Other than that, it's a great flight, man!

Re:Missiles (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803220)

So we're coming to the day when cheap intercontinental ballistic missiles will be available to all. Thank you to Jeff and all the wealthy amateur space enthusiasts.

You sound unhappy about this. Not following the Second Amendment through to its logical conclusion, are we, sir?

And, gawd demmit, why won't thar gawd-damn gub'mint let me buy mah plew-toe-nyum, huh?

No ground control? (3, Interesting)

suman28 (558822) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802812)

What about evasive evasive maneuvers? Ground clearance? and all the other details involved in space flight?

Land vertically? (4, Funny)

3770 (560838) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802815)

This thing is supposed to land vertically? That sounds more like a crash to me.

Will it have parachutes?

That's not a crash (2, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802885)

"That sounds more like a crash to me."

Crash? We prefer to refer to it as a high-velocity landing with 100% collateral damage to passenger, crew, and craft.

Space Vomit (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802831)

I've heard that everyone that's gone into space, end up getting sick, due to the lack of gravity, and some inner-ear problems. Do any of you guys know if this would apply? I can't remember if it's the space-ship that has been used, and the pure force that it creates, or the gravity thing. You guys are smart, does anyone here know? It'd suck to go into orbit just to watch vomit float.

Re:Space Vomit (4, Interesting)

raptor_87 (881471) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802911)

Approximately 1/3 of astronauts get space adaption syndrome. Basically, when you're in microgravity, the fluid in your inner ear doesn't settle, and so doesn't give your body a proper sense of balance. This does cause nausea and disorentation (lasting for up to a few days) in some people. Since these sub-orbital hops only give a few minutes of weightlessnesss, this will hopefully not be an issue.

Re:Space Vomit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12803208)

Do I get a refund if the rest of the passengers hurl all over me?

It has to be said (0)

dmuth (14143) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802847)

> It will operate autonomously under control of
> on-board computers, with no ground control.

I for one welcome our hydrogen peroxide and kerosene swilling SkyNet Overlords.

Web site puff (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 8 years ago | (#12802941)

From their site: "Blue Origin is developing vehicles and technologies that, over time, will help enable an enduring human presence in space." Yeah sure, but first we're gonna fire three people at a time up in a pod like a bullet, and hope they land safely should the 'chutes deploy. Sounds like a long way from A to B in this case.

Terrible Secret... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12803043)

Jeff Bezos' company will not protect you from the Terrible Secret of Space.

^ Also for /. editors, note proper usage of apostrophe with words ending with the letter S. Thanks.

Ballistic trajectory? (2, Interesting)

Bad to the Ben (871357) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803117)

Are they implying that this thing will be unguided? Just pointed at the sky and shot off without post launch guidance, like a bullet? That's what it sounds like to me, and would explain why ground control guidance is not seen as a problem: there's no way to guide it. It would be considerably cheaper to develop, but I'm not sure it would be too popular.

Another thing I'd like to know is, where does it land? If it's a water landing, that makes passenger safety and training more complex (they have to learn how to stay afloat if something goes balls up). If it's a land based touchdown, who's land is it going to land on? They'll have to buy a pretty big slab of dirt if they're going to guarantee it always lands on their property.

Sand Crash? (5, Interesting)

centauri (217890) | more than 8 years ago | (#12803124)

Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, The Baroque Cycle, etc.) has taken a part-time job [nealstephenson.com] as a consultant for Blue Origins.
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