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Blue Origin (aerospace) updates

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Posted

Blue Origin is a commercial aerospace company started by Amazon's Jeff Bezos. Information about this program is sparse as they don't publish much, and many believe they have ties to the military and national security agencies who seem interested in their tech.

They are currently working on sub-orbital and orbital systems using reusable capsules and launchers that return to the spaceport and land vertically - just as God and Robert A. Heinlein intended ;)

They are using an evolutionary approach akin to SpaceX - build smaller vehicles then evolve their subsystems into larger ones.

The suborbital spacecraft will be known as New Shepard, named for the US's first astronaut Alan Shepard. It will be based on the mold line of their Goddard propulsion testbed (last attachment.) It will fly on a launcher named PM (Propulsion Module), which is flying in an early form now and is also the testbed for the first stage of their reusable orbital launcher. The 40 foot tall PM-2 suffered a failure at 14,000 feet a couple months ago and crashed, but this is how rocket development goes - you learn more from failures than successes. PM-3 is being readied now.

The orbital spacecraft, known as SV (Space Vehicle), is a bi-conic capsule being developed for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program (CCDev) and will initially launch on an Atlas V - later to be replaced by Blue Origin's own reusable vertically landing launcher. Note the first stage has an umbrella-like section around its upper portion that deploys to a cone. This will act as a ballistic air-brake and stabilizer while the first stage is on the way back down but before it lights its landing engines.

Bi-Conic capsules re-enter nose first instead of the usual flat-end first, and have been used for decades by US spy satellite film return and warhead re-entry vehicles. They passively self-correct their re-entry flight path, making them very reliable.

Imagery attached. Video compiled from several sources.

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Posted

nice stuff, some good naming in honor of the greats. and i knew you'd get Heinlein in there somehow once i saw that pic of the rocket landing. as i always say in these very informative threads you share, the more the merrier and the faster the better! get it done!

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Posted

E-1 is a commercial test stand modded for medium to large engines or engine clusters. Its most recent test was the Aerojet AJ-26 (338,000 lb-ft/1.505 MN) intended for use in the Orbital Sciences Taurus II.

Dec. 8, 2011

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Posted

Picture of their SV's pressure hull. IIRC instead of using aluminum-lithium like most spacecraft (Dragon, Apollo, ISS, Orion etc.) this is largely a composite structure like DreamChaser. The rest of the vehicle surrounds this passenger-carrying core.

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NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, fourth from left meets Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos, third from left, next to Blue Origin's crew capsule along with other Blue Origin team members, Bretton Alexander, left, Jeff Ashby, second from left, Rob Meyerson, fifth from left, and Robert Millman at the company's headquarters in Kent, Wash., Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011.

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Posted

oowind-tunnel-testing.jpg

http://spaceref.biz/2012/04/blue-origin-tests-design-of-next-generation-spacecraft.html

Blue Origin Tests Design of Next-Generation Spacecraft

Blue Origin successfully tested the design of its next-generation Space Vehicle, completing a series of wind tunnel tests to refine the aerodynamic characteristics of the spacecraft's unique biconic shape.

The tests were carried out as part of Blue Origin's partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the agency's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. Blue Origin is designing the Space Vehicle to provide safe, affordable transport of up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

"Our Space Vehicle's innovative biconic shape provides greater cross-range and interior volume than traditional capsules without the weight penalty of winged spacecraft," stated Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. "This is just one of the vehicle's many features that enhance the safety and affordability of human spaceflight, a goal we share with NASA."

The wind tunnel tests validated Blue Origin's analysis of the Space Vehicle's aerodynamics during descent through the atmosphere and the ability to change its flight path, increasing the number of available landing opportunities each day and enhancing the vehicle's emergency return capability. More than 180 tests were conducted over the past several weeks at Lockheed Martin's High Speed Wind Tunnel Facility in Dallas.

Under CCDev, Blue Origin is maturing the design of the Space Vehicle, including its aerodynamic characteristics, culminating in a System Requirements Review in May of this year. Blue Origin will conduct tests of its pusher escape system later this year, demonstrating the ability to control the flight path of a subscale crew capsule using an innovative thrust vector control system. Also under CCDev, Blue Origin is conducting tests of the thrust chamber assembly (TCA) for the BE 3 100,000-lbf liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine, which was recently installed on the E 1 complex test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center.

About Blue Origin

Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. Founded in 2000, the company has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space through low-cost, highly reliable commercial space transportation. For more information and a list of job openings, visit http://www.blueorigin.com.

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Posted

cool news, i love Bezos and am so greatful for everything he's done with Amazon, they've kept me supplied in some quite random places! Anyway, i wish them all the best and hope they can contribute to The Great Effort.

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Posted

http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 07:52:37 PM UTC

NASA and Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., signed an agreement this week to extend their Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) partnership in an unfunded capacity. Between now and mid-2014, Blue Origin will continue to advance the subsystems of its biconic-shaped spacecraft, putting emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics and flight mechanics. The company also will progress the spacecraft's guidance, navigation and control systems.

Later this year, Blue Origin will focus on test firing its liquid-oxygen and liquid-hydrogen fueled BE-3 engines, building on the full-scale thrust chamber testing accomplished during the funded portion of its CCDev2 agreement. The test fire will take place at the company's West Texas Launch Site. In the winter, the company will outline the progress it has made toward designing, manufacturing and assembling its subscale booster propellant tank.

This CCDev2 extension will allow NASA to provide expert feedback to Blue Origin as the company works through additional milestones.

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