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Blue Origin Aerospace (updates)

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Beittil    571

 

 Guess it worked :D Nice!

 

Gues

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DocM    16,433

Congrats to them, good job, but the media hype about BO v SpaceX  is irritating. 

 

The comparison is apple's and oranges. Nowhere near the trajectory, GLOW, deltaV, payload, guidance complexity, or thermal loads. And other vehicles did it before SpaceX or Blue; X-15, SS1 etc.

 

It's like saying a ball tossed straight up and is caught before Archie Manning throws a TD pass "beat" him.

What it's a win for is VTVL vs HTHL launch. 2 large scale examples flying, with smaller versions like Masten doing good work, while the horizontal entries are on the ground.

It'll be more interesting when Blues Very Big Brother and SV fly out of LC-36 at KSC. They'll be building their factory & offices south of the Visitors Center.

 

Still, Blues first orbital vehicle won't be the large launcher. They'll build a stepping stone vehicle first - less lost if they crater a few. Good move.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Kudo's to BO, but as noted, it is only a race in the minds of media. 

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rafter109    127

This thing has got to be about as aerodynamic as a turd. Granted there is probably very little aft airflow turbulence, ideally they would want to taper the nose. Wonder how much fuel they waste due to drag.

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DocM    16,433

Look on the New Shepard as a money making (joyrides, NASA microgravity) testbed for their larger  launchers LH2 upper stage. 

The BE-3 vacuum engine version, BE-3U, will be used there, sold to other companies, and is a candidate for ULA's ACES advanced upper stage vs. RL-10 and an interesting XCOR entry. BE-3U has many advantages over the venerable RL-10 including cost, more power, and greater throttleability.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Blue Origin to ramp up New Shepard tests

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — After completing two successful flights of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle in two months, Blue Origin plans to increase the frequency of future test flights, with dozens more planned before the company is ready to start flying people.

 

In a Jan. 25 interview, Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson said that the company was continuing to review data from the most recent New Shepard flight on Jan. 22, but that initial indications were that the vehicle performed as expected.

 

“We haven’t seen or heard of anything that’s of concern. The vehicle performed perfectly,” he said. “Everything we’ve seen looks really good.”

 

On the flight from Blue Origin’s test site in West Texas, New Shepard flew to a peak altitude of 101.7 kilometers. The vehicle’s conical crew capsule parachuted back to Earth, while its propulsion module, equipped with a BE-3 engine developed by Blue Origin, made a powered vertical landing near the center of its landing pad.

 

The flight involved the same vehicle that flew a nearly identical flight from the same site Nov. 23, making it the first reused vehicle to make a powered vertical landing. Meyerson said the company plans to shorten the time between future test flights.

 

“We expect to shorten that turnaround time over time this year, and fly this vehicle again and again,” he said. Those upcoming tests will use the same New Shepard vehicle that flew the previous two flights, with hardware and software modifications as needed between flights.

 

Meyerson said the company still plans to perform “dozens” of test flights of New Shepard over the next couple of years before the company is ready to carry people on the vehicle. “It really depends on how the flight test program goes,” he said. “It could be a little faster than that, or it could be a little longer than that, depending on what we learn.”

 

Blue Origin, though, does expect to start carrying uncrewed research payloads on New Shepard later this year. The company has been working with researchers at Purdue University, the University of Central Florida and Louisiana State University to provide initial “pathfinder” experiments that will fly on the vehicle. “We hope to fly those payloads this year,” he said.

 

Using the same vehicle for those upcoming test flights is also important to demonstrate the vehicle’s reusability, a key goal of the company. “It really validates our design and analysis to be able to look at the hardware we’ve recovered,” he said.

 

He noted that while engineers inspected the vehicle’s BE-3 engine after the November flight, they did not remove it and do more thorough analysis of it prior to the Jan. 22 flight. “Having the ability to turn the vehicle around quickly is going to really depend on going to more of an inspection mode on some of those critical subsystems than an overhaul mode,” he said.

 

“New Shepard was designed for reusability from the beginning,” he said, emphasizing the development of the BE-3 engine with its “deep throttling” capability that allows it to be effectively used for both launch and landing. That work, he said, has benefits beyond New Shepard itself, given the company’s long-term plans to develop an orbital launch vehicle.

 

“That booster flight profile is very similar to what we will use eventually in our orbital flight program,” he said. “Gaining experience launching and recovering and reflying a cryogenic launch vehicle has direct lessons learned for our orbital launch vehicle.”

 

Read more of SpaceNews’ interview with Rob Meyerson, including discussion of the company’s work on the BE-4 engine and plans for an orbital launch vehicle, in the Feb. 1 issue of SpaceNews Magazine.

http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-to-ramp-up-new-shepard-tests/

 

It would appear that BO is still some time away from the cash paying tourists, possibly late 2017, early 2018...thoughts?

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DocM    16,433

Late 2017-2018 sounds about right.

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

 

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket venture provides glimpses of its road ahead

 

Quote

Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is lifting the curtain just a bit on its future plans for rocket engines and spaceflights.

 

One of the revelations relates to progress on its methane-fueled BE-4 rocket engine, which is on track to provide propulsion for United Launch Alliance’s next-generation Vulcan rocket. Blue Origin tweeted out a picture of the engine’s bell, most likely taken at the company’s production facility in Kent, Wash.:

 

Other revelations came out at a conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. One of the speakers was Brett Alexander, Blue Origin’s director of business development and strategy.

 

Alexander provided a recap of Blue Origin’s recent successes, including the suborbital test flights of the company’s reusable New Shepard rocket at a Texas test range in November and January. The uncrewed tests are aimed at opening the way for passenger flights, starting in 2018 or so.

 

Reports from the meeting quoted Alexander as saying there would be a couple of dozen such test flights over the course of the next two years – which works out to an average of one flight per month. Alexander also told the gathering that it’s still too early to announce the ticket price for passenger flights.

 

Alexander emphasized that Blue Origin’s long-term goal was to move on to orbital space missions. Over the past several years, NASA has awarded the company contracts totaling more than $25 million for development of technologies for orbital crew transport. Today, Alexander was quoted as saying NASA’s funds accounted for only “small single digits” of the percentage of Blue Origin’s total investment.

 

Rocket reusability and human spaceflight could bring significant changes to the launch industry over the next 10 years, Alexander said. Those objectives also lead the list for SpaceX – which means the billionaire rivalry between Bezos and SpaceX’s founder, Elon Musk, is likely to continue for years to come.

http://www.geekwire.com/2016/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-venture-provides-glimpses-of-its-road-ahead/

 

 

 

 

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IsItPluggedIn    1,684

So at minimum the investment in BO has been 252 Million, if it is 9%,  or 457 Million if it is 5%. That is a fair amount of cash to throw out without any customers yet.

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DocM    16,433

Easy enough when you're worth 46 billion and the investment was spread over 16 years.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Bezos' space company aims for passenger flights in 2018

 

download.thumb.jpg.0bd00c780de2f89bbe500

Blue Origin team members ready the New Shepard Crew Capsule during assembly in Kent, Washington in this Blue Origin handout photo released March 8, 2016.
REUTERS/BLUE ORIGIN/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS

 

Quote

Jeff Bezos' space company Blue Origin expects to begin crewed test flights of its reusable suborbital New Shepard vehicle next year and begin flying paying passengers in 2018, Bezos told reporters on Tuesday.

 

Bezos’ remarks, made during the first ever media tour of the Blue Origin manufacturing facility, marked the first time the billionaire founder of Amazon.com (AMZN.O) had put a target date on the start of the commercial space flights Blue Origin is developing.

 

"We’ll probably fly test pilots in 2017, and if we’re successful then I’d imagine putting paying astronauts on in 2018,” Bezos said at the sprawling plant south of Seattle

 

The company expects to build six New Shepard vehicles, which are designed to autonomously fly six passengers to more than 62 miles (100 km) above Earth, high enough to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the planet set against the blackness of space.

 

Quote

Blue Origin has not yet settled on a price for rides, but Bezos said it will be competitive with what other companies, such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, are charging for similar flights.

 

Galactic is selling tickets to fly on its six-passenger, two-pilot SpaceShipTwo for $250,000. The company last month unveiled its second spaceship and expects to begin test flights soon. The first SpaceShipTwo was lost during a fatal test flight in October 2014.

 

Privately owned XCOR Aerospace, which is developing a two-person space plane called Lynx, is charging about $100,000 for one person to fly alongside a pilot.

 

Bezos said he has invested more than $500 million in Blue Origin, which is on track to double its staff to about 1,200 within the next year. He said that he would continue to foot the company’s bills “for as long as necessary.”

Bezos expects Blue Origin to become profitable at some point. “I’m optimistic it will be a healthy business,” Bezos said.

more at the link

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-bezos-idUSKCN0WB00T

 

-----------------

 

Jeff Bezos offers a glimpse of Blue Origin rocket plant

 

Quote

KENT, WASHINGTON — You could drive right past the building, surrounded by a green chain link fence and next to a railroad track, without realizing that a big part of Brevard County's high-tech future is inside.

 

There is not even a sign outside to tell the public that it's the headquarters of Blue Origin, the private rocket company that aims to revolutionize the business and technology behind space travel.There's just a weathered concrete sign that reads21218 76th Avenue South.

 

Inside it's a much different story as engineers and machinists design, manufacture and assemble rockets that are meant to be used over and over and dramatically reduce the cost of future space flight - both for cargo deliveries and space tourism.

 

FLORIDA TODAY was one of a handful of media outlets on Tuesday granted a rare peek inside the headquarters of Blue Origin outside Seattle, as it prepares to break ground on a rocket  manufacturing facility on Merritt Island. Florida also is in the running to  win production of the company's powerful BE-4 rocket engines.

 

Quote

That's Blue Origin's motto meant to signify an aggressive, yet careful and methodical approach, in achieving its goals. Bezos quietly started Blue Origin in 2000 and it wasn't until three years later when he started purchasing property in West Texas that it became public.

 

Blue Origin's 260,000-square-foot facility, a modern structure of tan stone and glass, is about a 30-minute drive south from the headquarters of Amazon in Seattle, and also the Microsoft Corp. headquarters in Redmond.

 

The 600 employees working at Blue Origin's Kent headquarters come from all the United States and have been involved with NASA, or aerospace for decades. The operation at Cape Canaveral will add about 200.

 

635930640935173773-BlueOrigin-008.thumb.

New Shepard assembly in Blue Origin’s Kent, Washington facility.  Blue Origin

 

 

635930640957325915-BlueOrigin-002.thumb.

Technicians assemble the BE-3 hydrogen engine in Blue Origin's facility in Kent, Washington.  Blue Origin

 

 

635930641014734283-BlueOrigin-009.thumb.

The lobby of Blue Origin's headquarters.  Blue Origin

 

Full article, a flash video and more images at the link...

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/2016/03/08/new-look-at-blue-origin/81311276/

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

E-4 Engine Testing Update From Jeff Bezos

 

BE-4_Blue_Origin.jpg

Regeneratively cooled chamber and nozzle installed in highly-instrumented calorimeter. (Credit: Blue Origin)

 

Quote

CULBERSON COUNTY, Texas (Blue Origin PR) — BE-4 testing is well underway at Blue Origin. To date, we’ve completed more than 170 staged-combustion tests – including 51 starts on a single regeneratively cooled chamber and nozzle. The preburner performed flawlessly and the main injector consistently demonstrated performance at the high end of our predictions, giving us confidence that we’ll get good specific impulse when we go to full-scale engine testing later this year.

BE-4_Blue_Origin_test.jpg

Staged-combustion test hardware is robust and results have validated computer models. (Credit: Blue Origin)

 

Quote

We’re building two new test cells. The first is a high-pressure cell that lets us run short-duration, full-scale isolated preburner tests. We’ll use this cell to refine the ignition sequence and understand the start transients. The second is another full engine test cell. Having two full engine test positions will allow us to further increase the testing pace.

Blue_Origin_test_cell.jpg

Final construction underway of a new BE-4 isolated preburner test cell. (Credit: Blue Origin)

 

Quote

One of the many benefits of a privately funded engine development is that we can make and implement decisions quickly. Building these two new test cells is a $10 million commitment, and we as a team made the decision to move forward in 10 minutes.  Less than three weeks later we were pouring the needed three-foot thick foundations. Private funding and rapid decision making are two of the reasons why the BE-4 is the fastest path to eliminate U.S. dependence on the Russian-made RD-180.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Jeff Bezos

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/03/11/be4-engine-testing-update-jeff-bezos/

 

Looks pretty clean for that many runs.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to Launch Reusable Rocket Again Saturday

 

blue-origin-new-shepard.jpg?interpolatio

Blue Origin aims to launch and land this New Shepard rocket for the third time on April 2, 2016.
Credit: Blue Origin/Jeff Bezos Twitter

 

Quote

Blue Origin is taking this whole "reusable rocket" thing pretty seriously.

 

The private spaceflight company, which was established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, aims to launch its New Shepard rocket to suborbital space, and bring it back to Earth in a soft landing, for the third time Saturday (April 2).

 

"Working to fly again tomorrow. Same vehicle. Third time. #LaunchLandRepeat @BlueOrigin," Bezos said Friday (April 1) via his Twitter account, @JeffBezos.

 

"Pushing the envelope. Restarting BE-3 fast @ high thrust, just 3600 ft from ground. Impact in 6 sec if engine doesn’t restart & ramp fast," he added in another tweet, referring to New Shepard's BE-3 engine.

 

Quote

Saturday's planned flight will test out a new algorithm for the New Shepard capsule's reaction control system, and will also take two university-developed microgravity experiments to suborbital space, Bezos said.

 

And if all goes well, we should get a good look at much of the spaceflight action.

 

"We’ll have drone cameras in the air and hopefully will get good aerial footage to share," Bezos said in another tweet on Friday.

 

Tests such as Saturday's planned flight are part of Blue Origin's effort to develop fully and rapidly reusable launch systems, which is also a priority for SpaceX and its billionaire founder, Elon Musk.

http://www.space.com/32451-blue-origin-reusable-rocket-launch.html

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

That's gonna be a good test of several systems' responsiveness. :yes: 

 

Good. Push the envelope in other ways, BO. You folks are doing some decent work too.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Blue Origin flies New Shepard on suborbital test flight

 

newshepard-launch-jan16-879x485.jpg

Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle lifting off Jan. 22, the test flight prior to its April 2 test. Credit: Blue Origin

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — Blue Origin successfully flew its New Shepard suborbital vehicle for the third time in four and a half months April 2 as the company moves closer to commercial operations of the vehicle.

 

The vehicle lifted off from the company’s test site shortly after 11 a.m. Eastern time, according to a series of tweets by company founder Jeff Bezos. The vehicle’s propulsion module, the same one that flew earlier test flights in November and January, made a successful powered landing, he said. Its crew capsule, flying without people on board, parachuted to a safe landing.

 

Quote

One difference on this flight from previous tests, Bezos said, was a change in the restart of the propulsion module’s BE-3 engine needed to perform the powered landing. The company planned to restart the engine at an altitude of just 1,100 meters, quickly going to high thrust to slow the vehicle for landing. “Impact in 6 sec if engine doesn’t restart & ramp fast,” Bezos wrote.

 

This flight also carried the experiments provided by universities. One, called the Box of Rocks Experiment from the Southwest Research Institute, was designed to study the interaction of small rocks in microgravity. A second experiment, Collisions into Dust Experiment from the University of Central Florida, examined the behavior of a layer of dust after the impact of a marble-sized object in weightlessness.

 

Blue Origin executives have said the company plans to increase the frequency of test flights as it prepares to bring New Shepard into commercial operations. Flights carrying commercial research payloads, but without a crew, could begin later this year, with commercial flights with spaceflight participants planned in about two years. Test flights with people on board the autonomously-piloted vehicles are planned for 2017.

 

The propulsion module used on this flight, and two prior ones, was the second one built by the company, after the first propulsion module was lost in an April 2015 test flight. Three more propulsion modules are under construction at the company’s headquarters near Seattle.

more at the link...

http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-flies-new-shepard-on-suborbital-test-flight/

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Draggendrop    5,747

Flight Three: Pushing the Envelope

video is 1:51 min.

 

 

 

-----------------------

 

Photos: Glimpses of Secretive Blue Origin's Private Spaceships

 

slide show with descriptions, 42 images...

 

http://www.space.com/12752-photos-blue-origin-private-spaceships-commercial-space.html

 

:)

 

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DocM    16,433

No question their suborbital system is going to be the first one with paying passengers, not Virgin or XCOR (whose OrbitalATK built wings are running late.) Absent a miscue that's a lock.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Update on Blue Origin’s BE-4 Engine From Jeff Bezos

 

blue_origin_be-4_preburner.jpg

Combusting CFD modeling of the BE-4 preburner shows temperature distribution of hot gaseous oxygen entering the turbine. (Credit: Blue Origin)

 

Quote

In the BE-4 preburner, a very small portion of the engine’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel mixes and burns with all of the engine’s liquid oxygen to produce hot gaseous oxygen, which is used to drive the turbine and spin the turbopumps. Oxygen and LNG burn stoichiometrically above 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures of about 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit or more are needed to reliably ignite and sustain the reaction. No practical turbine materials would survive at that temperature, especially in a reusable application. To resolve this, the BE-4 preburner mixes unburned oxygen into the burned gas stream to dilute the combustion gases and reduce the overall temperature to about 700 degrees Fahrenheit. If this mixing process isn’t meticulously designed, hot spots can persist in the stream and limit turbine life.

 

To design the preburner to provide uniform temperature, we use 3-D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to model the LNG and liquid oxygen combustion process. CFD predicts fluid behavior by solving the Navier-Stokes equations to describe how the velocity, pressure, temperature, and density of a moving fluid relate. CFD of reacting flows, especially those that also involve a phase change, is much, much harder because it must also solve chemistry along with state equations. Combusting CFD has only become practical with recent advances in chemical physics models and computing power.

 

To date, we’ve completed several million core hours of CFD modeling of BE-4 combustion processes. Modeling of the preburner shows good mixing and temperature uniformity upstream of the turbine. The combustion and temperature data we’ve gathered in our subscale testing correlate with our CFD predictions and show that our preburner sizing and injector element design meet design requirements. The ability to do combusting CFD simulations doesn’t eliminate the need for rigorous testing, but it will significantly shorten the test-fail-fix loop on the test stand. We’ll keep you updated.

 

Gradatim Ferociter!

 

Jeff Bezos

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/04/29/update-blue-origins-be4-engine-jeff-bezos/

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Video: Blue Origin Landing

 

Quote

Video from New Shepard flight on April 2, 2016 showing flight of the booster from just ahead of reentry through descent and landing.

Video is from the GH2 vent camera located just below the booster's ring fin.

http://spaceref.com/commercial-space/video-blue-origin-landing.html

 

Flight 3: GH2 Vent Cam

video is 2:38 min.

 

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

That's a pretty unique view. :yes: 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Blue Origin preparing to land New Shepard with a bum parachute next time

 

blueorigin_landing-879x485.jpg

New Shepard deploys parachutes to slow its descent preparation for a powered landing. Credit: Blue Origin

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — Blue Origin plans to find out if New Shepard can land with a failed parachute when it launches the suborbital spacecraft on its fourth roundtrip flight.

 

Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder, said May 26 the Kent, Washington-based company is finishing up mission planning for New Shepard’s fourth flight since the reusuable spacecraft touched down in Texas after reaching an altitude of 100.5 kilometers.

 

“On this upcoming mission we also plan to stress the crew capsule by landing with an intentionally failed parachute, demonstrating our ability to safely handle that failure scenario,” Bezos said in an email update.  “It promises to be an exciting demonstration.”

 

No date was given for the mission. As of May 26, Blue Origin had not filed with the Federal Aviation Administration for restricting  airspace around its West Texas test site.

 

Bezos also said that Blue Origin has commissioned the first of two new test cells it began building last October to support risk reduction testing of BE-4, the methane-fueled engine United Launch Alliance intends to use to power the main stage of its proposed Vulcan rocket.

 

“This test cell is pressure fed and supports the development of the preburner start and ignition sequence timing that will be used on the upcoming full scale powerpack test campaign,” Bezos said.

 

“[O]ne of the many benefits of a privately funded engine development is that we can make and implement decisions quickly. We made the decision to build these two new test cells as a team in a 10 minute discussion.  Less than three weeks later we were pouring concrete and now we have an operating pressure fed test cell 7 months later.

 

“Private funding and rapid decision making are two of the reasons why the BE-4 is the fastest path to eliminate U.S. dependence on the Russian-made RD-180,” Bezos said.

 

0defa9ce-01af-45cf-99ab-129a9909d556.jpg

Blue Origin’s commissioned Preburner Test Facility in West Texas. Credit: Blue Origin

 

http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-preparing-to-land-new-shepard-with-a-bum-parachute-next-time/

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Blue Origin joins NASA’s suborbital research flight program 

 

newshepard-launch-jan16-879x485.jpg

Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital vehicle lifting off on a Jan. 22 test flight. The vehicle is now able to fly research payloads through NASA's Flight Opportunities program. Credit: Blue Origin

 

Quote

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — NASA announced June 2 that it has awarded a contract to Blue Origin to perform suborbital research flights as part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities program.

 

Under the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, Blue Origin will be eligible to fly research payloads on its New Shepard suborbital vehicle. The contract has a maximum value of $45 million, although the actual value depends on the number of task orders for research flights awarded by NASA.

 

Blue Origin, which has identified research payloads as one of the key markets for New Shepard, has already been working to attract customers on its own, signing up several “pathfinder” customers who will fly payloads on early test flights. Joining Flight Opportunities, company officials said, opens up another way for those customers to fly on the vehicle.

 

“It’s a great avenue to do science and education research mission payloads on New Shepard,” said Brett Alexander, director of strategy and business development at Blue Origin, during an interview at the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) here, where NASA announced the contract. “This gets us into that pipeline of government-funded flights.”

 

Under Flight Opportunities, individual researchers interested in flying on New Shepard can work directly with the company to submit a proposal for NASA to have that flight funded. Steve Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator for space technology, said at the conference that the program would separately broker flights for payloads developed or sponsored by NASA.

 

“We’re really excited to have them on board and have this capability along with the other flight service providers,” Jurczyk said in a speech at the conference announcing the Blue Origin contract.

 

In the near-term, Alexander said Flight Opportunities payloads would likely be included on the company’s ongoing series of test flights of the vehicle. Those flights go to altitudes of 100 kilometers and provide three to four minutes of microgravity. Once in commercial service, Blue Origin expects to do dedicated research flights of New Shepard separate from flights carrying space tourists.

 

http://spacenews.com/blue-origin-joins-nasas-suborbital-research-flight-program/

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DocM    16,433

 

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