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Blue Origin Release Flight Videos

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the up-up-and-away dept.

Space 180

Reality Master 101 writes "Space start-up Blue Origin (financed by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos) had a secret test flight on November 13, 2006. They've now released video and pictures of the very successful flight. Looks like they're making good progress." From the page: "We're working, patiently and step-by-step, to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go and so that we humans can better continue exploring the solar system. Accomplishing this mission will take a long time, and we're working on it methodically."

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huh? (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452654)

We're working, patiently and step-by-step, to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go and so that we humans can better continue exploring the solar system.

What, you mean $20 million a person isn't low enough?

Re:huh? (0)

sjwest (948274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452738)

Not if i get my way - I've got a patent on space travel, so i can sue.

Re:huh? (1)

cbcanb (237883) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453070)

Not even close. Two orders of magnitude lower is a starting point.

Re:huh? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453558)

What? You mean you've never heard of sarcasm before?

WATCH OUT! (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452656)

You are going to run out of fuel.
Land on the pad quickly.

WTF?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452666)

This thing went about 50 feet into the air and came back down. Unimpressed.

Re:WTF?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452708)

So, I suppose that you have one that flies higher?

Re:WTF?? (3, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452768)

Why yes, yes I do. [amazon.com]

Re:WTF?? (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453970)

I love that it refered me to the "Red Rocket Hobby Shop"

redrocket! redrocket!

Defrosters (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452676)

I'm not sure what they are using for rockets, but it seems to frost over some of the camera lenses. They need to have some sort of defrosters on them.

Re:Defrosters (0)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452696)

I noticed this as well.
It seems more like this is propelled by hairspray than rocket fuel.

We want burning flames and heat haze not condensation and frost.

Re:Defrosters (3, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453370)

We want burning flames and heat haze not condensation and frost.

It's not condensation and frost -- it's steam. As another commenter mentioned, the rocket uses H2O2 as propellant.

2 H2O2 => O2 + 2 H2O

Re:Defrosters (2, Informative)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452804)

It's powered by H2O2.

Re:Defrosters (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452978)

It's powered by H2O2.

I trust them to know their job more than a random Slashdot poster (me) does, but it looks like they are running out of fuel pretty fast in that way. The tests work well, I wonder though if they can get it actually in orbit.

If it was me, I'd try a different idea. Like.. make the longest rope in the world, then send astronauts to mount it on the moon, and make them pool the capsules from Earth into orbit.

I'm sure it'll work fine.

half right (2, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453572)

H2O2 + a fuel. They are pretty secretive about what they do out on the ranch but that much is known from public filings. And no (to answer sibling post) this rocket isn't orbital although it may be the upper stage of an orbital craft (or just a technology testbed)

Re:Defrosters (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453486)

The thing is much bigger than I expected. I would guess with a 2m radius and 4m height. It is quite fat, so I guess they are using spherical or ellipsoidal propellant tanks. The shape reminds me of the Kankoh Maru [astronautix.com] and the shell seems to be made of composites or plastic. I guess the blunt nose makes sense because the thing is suborbital and they do not have a wide cross range requirement like the Delta Clipper [astronautix.com] had.

I am not an expert, but the burn looked too clean, I guess it is a pressure fed mono propellant. Perhaps H2O2 (Hydrogen Peroxide) like someone else said. Much like what Carmack tried to do with Armadillo. I counted 3 x 3 = 9 thrust chambers in that setup.

The man requested someone with experience in cryogenic turbopumps. Even mentioned the RS-68 explicitly. So it seems to me he is going for a pump fed LOX/LH2 engine. It makes much more sense to me than the H2O2/Kerosene rumours I heard before. Why risk it all by going for an engine no one has built before? I mean the only rocket engine with that combo I remember is the one [astronautix.com] in the British Black Arrow [astronautix.com] rocket from the 70s. Beal [bealaerospace.com] killed himself by going with a risky H2O2/Kerosene combo and a filament wound shell.

A LOX/LH2 engine with a variable mixture ratio would do the trick. H2O2 is IMO overrated and finicky. LOX is cheaper than high purity H2O2 and has pretty good density. You have to go for LH2 if you wanna go orbital anyway for the ISP AFAIK (unless you use a lot of stages, which I guess is what they do not want).

Re:Defrosters (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453718)

Eh, more like 2m radius and 6m height. Sorry about the thinko. :-)

Re:Defrosters (1)

cananian (73735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454642)

The environmental impact statement [hobbyspace.com] 's description of the "low altitude demonstrator of the propulsion module" confirms its use of a high-test peroxide monopropellant.

It seems that Blue Origin would have to amend their Environmental Impact Statement if they changed propellants, but perhaps they'd first develop and validate the LOX/LH2 engine design before doing the EPA paperwork.

LOX Kersosene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454714)

Would make a lot more sense. LH2 is hard to work with, and takes up a huge volume per unit energy available. But LOX and JP2, that is easily available and easily workable, and it's been done before.

It would sure be interesting if the test and development cycle could beat the Ares I, which is having significant weight issues. (Atlas could do the job, though). If Blue Origin could have an orbiter that could launch the CEV with a little extra left-over throw-weight, when the CEV/Aries stack fails to be ready on time, maybe Congress would take notice.

No Smoking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452686)

"using as propellants what the company's website later confirmed to be hydrogen peroxide and kerosene." - From the wikipedia entry.

cool stuff...

looks like fat DC-X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452702)

Re:looks like fat DC-X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452914)

Well if NASA isn't interested in cheaper access to space, I'm glad it's at least an American company that is.

Re:looks like fat DC-X (4, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453088)

Yup. In fact, many of the engineers who worked on the DC-X are now at Blue Origin.

As god intended (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452744)

a vertical take-off, vertical-landing vehicle designed to take a small number of astronauts on a sub-orbital journey into space.

And to quote a great song writer "and it will take off and land on its tail, Like God and Robert Heinlein intended."

Re:As god intended (2, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453066)

Oh, man, you got my hopes up. It's not a song, it's just an article, by Arlan Andrews, Sr. Still, it's a great phrase, and I'm gonna use it.

Re:As god intended (2, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453184)

This reminds me of the old "Delta Clipper" DC-X [wikipedia.org] design from McDonnell Douglas. Ironically, when looking Delta Clipper up at wikipedia to find a link for my previous sentence, it mentions the same thing.

The really nice thing about powered landings are that they can be done in an airless environment. You can use the same design to get to orbit, refuel, then go to the moon, mars, asteroids, etc. Just start cranking them off the manufacturing line and putting a fleet in LEO and you're halfway to everywhere.

Bezos hired some of the ex-DC-X people (2, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453604)

Bezos hired some of the ex-DC-X people. Which explains the similarities.

2007... (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452746)

The year when space tourism goes big?

Re:2007... (1)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452966)

More like 2017, unless you consider 1 or 2 more $20M trips by Billionaires "Big".

Re:2007... (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453334)

These are suborbital flights, and I'd imagine they'll be close to the same price as Virgin's (~$200,000). Not exactly cheap, but a couple of order of magnitudes smaller, and admittedly at least an order of magnitude less cool. I'm very interested to see how this suborbital space tourism thing goes. I know some people going up on the first few virgin flights, but I'm still not wholly optimistic about it.

Re:2007... (1)

LenE (29922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454102)

I'm not so sure about an order of magnitude in the less cool department. Human physiology doesn't do that well with weightlessness, and the intensity of ~5 minutes of space flight will be much more than most people will be able to stand. Don't underestimate the coolness of bragging rights at the local country club. Even suborbital will be way more than cool enough for the next few years.

Cooler yet, the early space tourists will bring down the cost for the rest of us.

-- Len

Restricted video format? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452808)

They can't be all that sophisticated if they restrict the videos on their website to the .wmv format as they have.

Yeah, yeah, I know how to download and install codecs, have done it several times in the past on other boxen, but right now I'm in between Linux desktop installs and I haven't bothered installing the Wondows codecs yet on this new install.

Not to mention (albeit I disagree) that in some people's estimation installing the Windows codecs is a violation of law in the part of the world I'm from.

You'd think Bezos would be more considerate to the non-Windows folks.

Re:Restricted video format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452846)

They can't be all that sophisticated if they restrict the videos on their website to the .wmv format as they have.

Yeah, yeah, I know how to download and install codecs, have done it several times in the past on other boxen, but right now I'm in between Linux desktop installs and I haven't bothered installing the Wondows codecs yet on this new install.

Not to mention (albeit I disagree) that in some people's estimation installing the Windows codecs is a violation of law in the part of the world I'm from.

You'd think Bezos would be more considerate to the non-Windows folks.
In summary, alt.conspiracy.black.helicopters.

Re:Restricted video format? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17452860)

You'd think Bezos cared. Most likely, he chose whatever codec gave him best compression so that he could handle the traffic best. Besides, you can use VLC to view them on whatever platform now.

Re:Restricted video format? (-1, Offtopic)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453050)

They can't be all that sophisticated if they restrict the videos on their website to the .wmv format as they have.

Yeah, yeah, I know ... blah blah blah blah blah .... Not to mention (albeit I disagree) ... blah blah blah blah blah...

You'd think Bezos would be more considerate to the non-Windows folks.


Let me translate your post for the rest of us simpler folks:

"I chose Linux so I can rant left and right about people not supporting my distro"

Either use Linux and shut up (I mean, you KNEW people will prefer to target the overwhelmingly dominant desktop OS versus your flavor of Linux right?), or switch to Windows, OR find a way to play WMV. Ranting doesn't help.

'One-click' video not heard of, here... (3, Funny)

Traf-O-Data-Hater (858971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453430)

Ironic that most other sites with an embedded video needs only one click to start it playing; I had to download the WMV then open it. I've even heard of some online bookstore patenting the idea for ordering with single click.
Too bad the poor fellow who put this page together couldn't have taken a leaf outta their book. Maybe he's afraid of the patent holder going after him?

Re:'One-click' video not heard of, here... (1)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454042)

My take on that is that they're spending their money on aerospace engineers, not web designers. If shitty webpage means cheaper spaceflight, I'm all for it!

Re:'One-click' video not heard of, here... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454604)

Sorry, i couldn't tell, was that whooshing noise the Blue Origin, or the sound of an Amazon patent joke soaring over your head there? :)

Re:Restricted video format? (0, Offtopic)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453186)

I haven't bothered installing the Wondows codecs yet on this new install.

Executive Summary: "I'm lazy and want to gripe about Microslop some more."

...and following your logic, you can't be THAT sophisticated if you expect to view videos on the web without installing a COMMON codec type...

Re:Restricted video format? (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454534)


  I mean like I just got my WinNT installed and haven't upgraded the media player. Yah yah I know, I'm dumb but why don't they accommodate MEEEEEEEE.

  Shaddap whiner. You're ranting about your install's current state, not the site.

WMV (1)

nermaljcat (895576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452856)

Looks really good. Pity the videos are in WMV format and I am running Linux....

Re:WMV (1)

androvsky (974733) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452918)

So? Last I checked the open-source codecs could handle even wmv9, so even your processor architecture shouldn't matter. Is it encrypted?

Re:WMV (1, Insightful)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452950)

MPlayer handles it fine.

Re:WMV (0)

nermaljcat (895576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453420)

I'll try installing MPlayer. Thanks.

Re:WMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453004)

are you saying you couldn't see them? they work just fine on my fedora core 6 with vlc.

Re:WMV (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453254)

I run Ubuntu w/ VLC, works fine.

Re:WMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453780)

Sucks to be You!!

Pony up some $$ and get a real OS

Re:WMV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17454232)

Here, have some cheese.

Lost in Space... (1)

Mogster (459037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452878)

Was anyone else reminded of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space (series not '98 movie)? Not so much the shape (Jupiter 2 was flatter) but the take-off and landing looked very similar to those on the show.

That aside I wish the Blue Origin team luck

Low cost spaceflight a reality ?!?!?! (1, Flamebait)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452892)

There seems to be a slight problem with the reality translation module. Allow me to help:

"We're working, patiently and step-by-step"
Trans: "This is gonna be super safe. Trust us. Just don't expect miracles."

"to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go"
Trans: "And as soon as we can find a market and get the launch costs to the break-even point..."

"so that we humans can better continue exploring the solar system."
Trans: "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"

"Accomplishing this mission will take a long time, and we're working on it methodically."
Trans: "Anyone who wants to pony up some funds will be welcomed, but it will still take a while."

I hope this helped.

Re:Low cost spaceflight a reality ?!?!?! (2, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17452984)

"We're working, patiently and step-by-step"
Trans: "This is gonna be super safe. Trust us. Just don't expect miracles."


Where do you get the idea that they're promising something "super safe"? All I got from that is that they're trying to warn people that they're trying not to rush things.

"to lower the cost of spaceflight so that many people can afford to go"
Trans: "And as soon as we can find a market and get the launch costs to the break-even point..."


Huh? They've already have a market. Just look at the number of people that have already made reservations for flights on Virgin Galactic.

"Accomplishing this mission will take a long time, and we're working on it methodically."
Trans: "Anyone who wants to pony up some funds will be welcomed, but it will still take a while."


The company is being funded out-of-pocket by (multi-billionaire) Jeff Bezos, and I'm fairly certain he wants to keep financial control over it for at least the near future. It's his baby, pretty much. I really don't think they're begging for funding.

Re:Low cost spaceflight a reality ?!?!?! (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453682)

Just look at the number of people that have already made reservations for flights on Virgin Galactic.

You might want to read one of the links off of Wikipedia - note: clicking 'Yes, I'd sign up and fork over $200,000' on an anonymous web-based poll on a mailing list somewhat unsurprisingly does not equate to a "reservation".

Re:Low cost spaceflight a reality ?!?!?! (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454258)

Just look at the number of people that have already made reservations for flights on Virgin Galactic.

You might want to read one of the links off of Wikipedia - note: clicking 'Yes, I'd sign up and fork over $200,000' on an anonymous web-based poll on a mailing list somewhat unsurprisingly does not equate to a "reservation".


I was actually referring to the people who've already put down money for a reservation.

Re:Low cost spaceflight a reality ?!?!?! (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453068)

I hope this helped.

I'm not sure it helped, but at least you're nominated for Cynical Poster of the Month award. I hope you attend the show to take the prize, but as always, the competition for that spot on Slashdot is really tough.

how the hell does that thing fly (1)

iduno (834351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453028)

I was impressed that the thing didnt just flip over and drive itself into the dirt. wonder how it would hold up with a bit of wind.

Crayola sponsored craft (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453064)

I want to see the video of the crayola sponsored craft [blueorigin.com] with the four rockets in the corners being launched.

Re:Crayola sponsored craft (1)

Flounder (42112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454016)

Only if it lands bouncing-ball style like the Mars rovers. And manned, it must be manned.

Re:Crayola sponsored craft (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454502)

Nah, I want to see it fly childrened.

Scaling Up? (3, Interesting)

dgillies (1046612) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453072)

Amazon vs. Armadillo for the next Lunar Lander Challenge at the X-Prize Cup? It sure looks Bezos has more than enough to create some meaningful competition. Seriously though - how much bigger is this vehicle going to get? The photos of it on the flatbed truck are awe inspiring...yet I can't imagine how much of that must simply be for fuel. The website's career section has a lot of talk on cryogenics, turbopumps, and Delta/Atlas sized rockets. It sounds like Bezos is going along the conventional routes for launch (erm just look at the name of the rocket - the New Shephard), and the H2O2 rockets being tested out now in the video are only retrorockets to be used during landing, in place of or in addition to parachutes. It'll be really interesting to see what a sub-orbital version looks like.

Re:Scaling Up? (4, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453438)

Seriously though - how much bigger is this vehicle going to get? The photos of it on the flatbed truck are awe inspiring...yet I can't imagine how much of that must simply be for fuel.

The Environmental Impact Statement they were required to publish last year [hobbyspace.com] describing their suborbital vehicle says that the "stacked vehicle would have a roughly conical shape with a base diameter of approximately 7 meters (22 feet) and a height of approximately 15 meters (50 feet)."

Judging from the photograph with the guy standing next to the rocket, the current test article seems to be maybe 6-7 meters tall, so I guess the final thing will be more than twice as tall.

Already done? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453102)

Didn't SpaceShipOne already do this? Their method is already simplier, cheaper and safer.

Blue Origin 2006 = Delta Clipper 1996 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453126)

whoop-de-friggin-do!!

Re:Blue Origin 2006 = Delta Clipper 1996 (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453240)

That was my first thought, I hope they treat their prototype better than NASA treated theirs.

Pathetic (0)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453174)

They are charging 20 million a person?

When indexed for inflation the entire Apollo program would cost about $85,000,000. Hell, the entire NASA budget for 1960 through 1973 would be about 250 million. The Apollo program put six manned missions on the moon with 1960s technology.

We put 18 men on the moon for what it would cost for 4 low earth orbits.

That is pathetic. Now we've decided to go back but this time its going to take 15+ years and cost several billion dollars. And the worst part is that nobody cares.

I bet we here at Slashdot could raise enough money to start our own space program and beat our government back to the moon by at least a year or two.

numbers from http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_18-16_Apoll o_Program_Budget_Appropriations.htm [nasa.gov] and converted http://www.measuringworth.com/ [measuringworth.com]

Re:Pathetic (1)

Mogster (459037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453210)

beat our government back to the moon by at least a year or two
I wish. OUR government doesn't even have a space program let alone prior moon landings.

Still I understand the sentiment :)

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453246)

You seem to have missed 3 zeros from the Apollo numbers. It cost 19.4 billion, which in present currency would be several times that figure.

Re:Pathetic (1)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453268)

your right, my bad.

well that invalidates my whole argument.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453260)

Check again. You're off by a factor of 1000. Apollo cost 20 Billion, which indexed in today's dollars is 80 billion not million.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453314)

You failed to account for the 2006 cost of the fuel used in the Apollo program. The difference there beats the inflation rate substantially...

Re:Pathetic (1)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453340)

I think you misplaced a few zeroes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget [wikipedia.org]

"According to Steve Garber, the NASA History website curator, the final cost of project Apollo was between $20 and $25 billion."

Re:Pathetic (1)

gerbalblaste (882682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453366)

like i said, oops. my whole argument is invalidated.

$20M isn't what it used to be (2, Insightful)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453410)

Aside from the part where you missed the zeroes, $20M really isn't that big a deal anymore, relatively speaking. The Forbes 100 no longer has millionaires on it. In fact it no longer has people worth less than $6 billion on it.

Re:$20M isn't what it used to be (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454514)

Since the average gross income is somewhere below $50k, $20M is still "really that big a deal." Just because .0000001% of the population is billionaires doesn't mean there are plenty of people who can afford to blow $20M just to see what earth looks like from near-orbit. Also, the catch-22 with rich people is that if they had frivilous spending habits, many of them wouldn't be rich to begin with.

As a NASA launch services engineer I must say.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453176)

What a cute little rocket :D

What they should do is get business partners who already know how to build rockets and offer them incentives to partipate. NASA's vision right now is not on target but that is not a failure of NASA engineers but a failure of management. Draw the engineering teams into this that already have experience. Don't do it half-assed.

And before the NASA bashers get their RSS feed and feel the need to talk about how stupid NASA is...yes NASA has problems but between Orbital, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, Pratt and Whitney, ATK, the Russians, the other numerous companies who build and integrate rockets and have spend billions upon billions on launch vehicles, this current effort is honestly a waste to me. It's great to see people wanting to innovate, but wanting and doing are not the same.

Rocket science is not easy. You cannot cut corners on development and testing and there is no substitute for the decades of experience these companies have.

If you want to innovate, get on board advanced propulsion or space elevator projects. sub-orbital is not hard...warp drive to the next galaxy is hard.

Re:As a NASA launch services engineer I must say.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453452)

The problem is NASA doesn't seem interested in cheaper access to space.

One might even say all NASA seems interested in is transferring government money to Orbital, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, Pratt and Whitney, et al. without anything to show for it. *cough*X-33*cough*

Maybe they need to be embarrassed into some actual innovation instead of more business-as-usual.

Re:As a NASA launch services engineer I must say.. (1)

pyite (140350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454044)

Rocket science is not easy. You cannot cut corners on development and testing and there is no substitute for the decades of experience these companies have.

Jeff Bezos is no stranger to recruiting good talent. Before Amazon, he worked at DE Shaw & Co. [deshaw.com] , a premier quantitative finance firm known for ridiculous recruiting practices. Bezos will find people of the skill level he needs and compensate accordingly.

Re:As a NASA launch services engineer I must say.. (3, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454556)

All the companies you mentioned have an interest in keeping space flight and expensive, government-only prospect. While hiring engineers from those companies might be OK, those companies in themselves are part of the military-industrial complex and have no interest in making cheap consumer goods.

Ahem, making the same mistake as Delta Clipper (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453350)

I would like to point out that they are making the same mistake that doomed the Delta Clipper. Four landing legs. As it seems these are not retractable, perhaps it really doesn't matter on this first gen prototype, but hopefully they won't make the same mistake on upscaled hardware.

Bullshit (0, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453444)

It says it was "successful" but all I see is a bunch of pictures of the thing sitting on the ground.

Re:Bullshit (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453464)

It says it was "successful" but all I see is a bunch of pictures of the thing sitting on the ground.

I take it you didn't watch the video [blueorigin.com] ?

4 legged office chairs and Blue origin........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453468)

Ever wonder why office chairs have to have 5 legs instead of 4?

Yes that would be for stability which clearly wasn't thought of here post DC-X.

hehe.

Re:4 legged office chairs and Blue origin........ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453864)

Rubbish. It's the Law of Fives.

A question about energy (4, Interesting)

rminsk (831757) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453520)

I can understand vertical take off but why do a veritcal landing? It would seem it would need a lot of energy just to land meaning you need much more fuel. More fuel means more weight which means more energy to take off and to land. This would seem to make space flight more expensive not less expensive. The Space Shuttle and Space Ship One glided to a landing burning off the extra engergy with the lift (which is drag) from flight. The only advantage I see is a smaller landing area.

Re:A question about energy (2, Interesting)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453710)

I agree. Vertical is dumb for landing in a high gravity environment (earth bad, moon good).

For that matter, tether this thing to a balloon, take it to high altitude and do a drop launch. High safety margin (if something goes wrong you have a long time to deploy shoots or dictate your will to a lawyer on the ground), much less fuel consumption.

But, alas, not as glorious and sci-fi looking (the only two reasons I can think of for VTOL).

Re:A question about energy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453778)

I can understand vertical take off but why do a veritcal landing? It would seem it would need a lot of energy just to land meaning you need much more fuel. More fuel means more weight which means more energy to take off and to land. This would seem to make space flight more expensive not less expensive.

The idea is, if you can make the launch vehicle completely, or almost completely, reuseable (and no, the shuttle is not reuseable, the shuttle is remanufacturable, there's an expensive difference), then the cost of the launch is almost completely the cost of fuel.

If you can use cheap fuels like kerosene and hydrogen peroxide or lox, then you may be able to drive the launch costs down to a point where it's economical to carry extra fuel for landing. Remember, vertical landing means you can land almost anywhere. You wouldn't need special, extra long runways like the shuttle.

Another point is that a real vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing, single-stage-to-orbit would be huge and on landing it's going to be mostly empty. So on landing it's going to be relatively light for it's size. Which means it's terminal velocity is going to be much lower than the shuttle, which means you're going to need much, much less fuel to land than to take-off.

The problem is nobody can tell whether it's going to be economical until somebody builds a full-scale model. NASA isn't going to do it because they "know" it isn't economical, but they started with different assumptions and requirements than Blue Origins, so while I generally have high regards for NASA engineers, in this case I wouldn't trust their conclusion.

Re:A question about energy (3, Informative)

zaydana (729943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453812)

The problem is that the extra weight needed to carry the wings for the two spacecraft you mention (the shuttle and SS1) will add more weight to the craft, and thus need extra fuel anyway. The space shuttle's wings were only designed how they were so that the shuttle could carry satellites back to earth - so it is possible to make a much lighter configuration, but I imagine it would still only be on par with a VTOVL vehicle at best, and in reality probably still worse in terms of fuel.

Re:A question about energy (1)

LenE (29922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454170)

Yes, wings are more weight and therefore more fuel for flight, but the amount of fuel needed for a safe VTOL landing is indeterminate, based on the landing site and weather conditions. SS1 and similar space planes can use all of their fuel, and still land safely, this thing cannot. The Space Shuttle doesn't use all of it's fuel, as it needs to come in under power, but it still can use gravity and aerodynamic forces to bleed off energy, in order to govern the descent and landing. VTOL gumdrops like this thing are SOL if the wind (high or low altitude) is strong enough to push it off of a good landing track or if there is a math error on one of the landing or fuel usage computers. Even more so if there is a failure in a pump or somewhere in the cryogenic fuel systems (like on some lunar landings).

-- Len

The Space Shuttle does not come in under power (2, Insightful)

O_at_H2-O2 (1043944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454778)

The Space Shuttle doesn't use all of it's fuel, as it needs to come in under power...

The space shuttle glides all the way in. It does not come in under power. The only propellant it burns on its way in is for the deorbit burn.

Note that the cost of the propellants is a very small portion of the overall launch costs, and therefore having to carry extra fuel is not a big factor in the economics. In fact, it makes sense: you are already carrying the engines, all you need is some extra fuel, and guidance.

-O

Re:A question about energy (2, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453828)

I can understand vertical take off but why do a veritcal landing?

Vertical landing versus horizontal landing is one of those big debates. The argument for vertical landing, as I understand it, can be summed up as "airplanes are bad spaceships, and spaceships are bad airplanes." In other words, trying to make a ship do both means it's poor at both. Look at all the problems the Space Shuttle has with protecting the wings from damage, for example.

Actually, I read an amusing quote from Bob Truax that said (paraphrase), "Insisting that spaceships land like airplanes makes as much sense as insisting a hundred years ago that airplanes should land on railroad tracks."

Re:A question about energy (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454116)

You could burn the extra energy using parachutes, slowing the ship down until low altitude and then lighting up the engines for a soft landing.

Keep also in mind that most of the take-off weight is fuel - the ship is much lighter when landing than when taking off.

It is also designed to use cheap fuels propellants, so it could be cheaper to add more fuel than to add wings (and more fuel, as the wings would be dead weight during most of the flight and they would require additional propellant to take them up with the ship).

I say it looks good.

Re:A question about energy (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454304)

More fuel means more weight which means more energy to take off and to land. This would seem to make space flight more expensive not less expensive.

Keep in mind that fuel (especially something like the hydrogen peroxide they're using) is absurdly cheap compared to everything else. Most of the money on launch ventures goes to paying employees, so you want to do everything possible to reduce how many support personnel you have. Fuel is probably on the order of 1% of your total costs.

I apply for the job of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453636)

video encoder. seeing as the current guy can't understand that interlaced video will look crap on pcs, let alone make the video poorer/larger.

Were they testing near O'Hare last month? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17453764)

just wondering...

Gradatim Ferociter? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453876)

What's Bezos talking about?

All Google seems to know is that some .us domains were registered with those words at the end of November.

Lunar Lander (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453882)

Somehow, I suspect that by the time they are launching that there will be too many cheap launchers for leaving this planet. But I wonder if that craft can be used as a pure lunar vehicle. It would be useful to have something that can land and take off from the moon and be re-fueled in lunar orbit. In addition, if done correctly, this could be used for jumping all over the moon. If this gets done in a few years, then this combined with modified BA-330's (for 1 time landing and base building) may allow for a quick build up of the moon.

Fundamental problems still remain... (1)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17453888)

I am not going to get all excited about cheap space flight before someone demonstrates to me a pretty much completely revolutionary propulsion system. Do that, and the rest is easy. Despite all these fancy scale models that fly up a few hundred meters, we still have physics to contend with when trying to get to orbit, and it is setting really tough limits ... using current technologies, orbital flight is simply not going to happen with anything lesser than conventional huge rocket stacks.

Using a single-piece design for the spacecraft isn't helping, as you're lifting the whole thing up all the way instead of just the tip of your stack while the rest gets dropped behind during ascent. And isn't tail-first powered landing horribly inefficient as you need to burn fuel even during that... and transport that fuel, too, up there?

Let's build the space elevator instead and then construct nuclear-powered interplanetary spacecraft in orbit...

Collective nouns and subject-verb agreement. (2, Informative)

chriscoolc (954268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17454174)

I hate to be a grammar cop, but unless you are regarding the members of a group individually, then the collective is singular, not plural. What the headline implies is that Blue Origin is a group of independently acting people, some of whom have released their own flight videos. I doubt that's the case.

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