Blue Origin Aerospace (updates)


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One tortoise painted on for each flight.     Blue Origin


Number 5 will be stenciled on and she can be retired...well done...:D

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Blue Origin on track for human suborbital test flights in 2017



The New Shepard crew capsule ignites its abort motor to separate from its propulsion module on an Oct. 5 in-flight test of the vehicle's abort system. Credit: Blue Origin



LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A “picture perfect” in-flight abort test last week by Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle keeps the company on schedule to begin crewed test flights by the end of next year, the company’s president said Oct. 13.


In a speech at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) here, Rob Meyerson said the Oct. 5 test, which demonstrated the ability of the crew capsule to safely escape its booster in an emergency, brings the company closer to start crewed flights.


“Everything looked fine. Everything was within our human tolerances,” Meyerson said of the abort test, which subjected the capsule to up to 10 g’s as it sped away from the booster.


That test was a key milestone for the company’s plans to fly humans on New Shepard for tourism or research missions. “This test got us one step closer to human spaceflight,” he added. “We’re still on track to flying people, our test astronauts, by the end of 2017, and then starting commercial flights in 2018.”


The main purpose of the test was to show that the New Shepard crew capsule could escape from the propulsion module and land safely. Blue Origin went into the test warning that the use of the solid-fuel abort motor, provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne, would likely destroy the booster.


“We were pretty certain we were going to lose it,” he said of the booster. To preserve a chance of landing the booster, though, Meyerson said engineers did some analyses and made software and hardware changes. “And then, honestly, we crossed our fingers.”


The propulsion module, though, survived the ignition of the motor and made a powered landing. “Despite the abuse of 70,000 pounds of thrust blasting it, the booster barely budged off course,” he said. The data collected from that part of the test, he added, will also be used to verify models of stage separation for the company’s future orbital launch vehicles.


Both the crew capsule and propulsion module are being retired and won’t fly again, Meyerson said. New vehicles are being built at the company’s headquarters near Seattle, and Meyerson said after his speech that flight tests of those vehicles should begin within a few months.


Meyerson also briefly discussed the company’s engine development and orbital launch vehicle plans. Work on the BE-4, which will be used by Blue Origin’s New Glenn orbital launch vehicle and is being considered by United Launch Alliance for its Vulcan launch vehicle, is proceeding well. “We’re making really great process,” he said. “We plan to be conducting engine testing early next year.”


He said the company’s Florida facilities, including Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36, which is being refurbished for New Glenn missions, and a factory for that rocket under construction outside the gates of the Kennedy Space Center, suffered no significant damage from Hurricane Matthew, which hit the area Oct. 7.


Things are coming together now...nice to see "newspace" being a force to reckon with.   :D

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Few bits of info in this article...


This is what it'll be like to fly to space with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin



credit Blue origin



According to newly updated information published on Blue Origin's website, a flight aboard the company's New Shepard space system will be quite the rocket ride. 


At launch from the company's site in Texas, people aboard the capsule will experience three times the force of gravity (3Gs) for about 2.5 minutes as the booster accelerates up to space.


There aren't actually pilots onboard the New Shepard, so, as a Blue Origin space tourist, you'll radio down to the company's mission control center, relaying "altitude, speed, time, and G force as the Earth retreats through your window," according to the website.


After those extreme minutes of G-force, the flight takes on a decidedly more calm tenor, allowing passengers to float through the cabin and take a look out of the New Shepard's large windows about 100 kilometers, about 62 miles, above the planet's surface.


"As the sky fades to black and you coast into space, a perfect silence will surround you," the website states. 


"Your capsule will separate from the booster, and you’ll receive clearance to release your harness. You’ll marvel in weightless freedom and lose yourself in breathtaking views through the largest windows in spaceflight history." 


But after those minutes of weightlessness end and passengers return to their seats, things get bumpy again.


During the New Shepard's descent, tourists will pull more than 5Gs of force, which puts a stress on the body but is relatively manageable, before coming in for a landing under parachutes back in Texas. For comparison, fighter pilots tend to withstand up to 8Gs of force.


Blue Origin isn't selling tickets to ride the New Shepard quite yet, and the company hasn't released details about the price of its seats. 


Officials working with the organization have said they hope to start flying people on commercial flights by 2018, with crewed tests starting next year. If Virgin Galactic's ticket prices are any indication of Blue Origins, a suborbital rocket ride will run you about $250,000.


Soar with Blue Origin

video is 4:06 min.





Blue Origin is also selling more than the spaceflight itself. 


The experience of becoming a Blue Origin astronaut actually begins two days before the flight in the high desert of West Texas.


"Two days before your flight, you’ll travel with your guests to the New Shepard launch site in the beautiful high desert plains," Blue Origin states. "The area’s isolation lends clarity and focus as you prepare for the experience of a lifetime."


Once your head is clear, Blue Origin's experts will fill it with information about training and the specifics of the flight one day before you actually head to space with the company. 


"Training includes mission and vehicle overviews, in-depth safety briefings, mission simulation, and instruction on your in-flight activities such as operational procedures, communications, and maneuvering in a weightless environment," the website reads.


And of course, after the flight, don't forget your photos and a few added perks.


"Your journey is hardly over at landing. We’ll help you capture and remember your experience with high definition videos, pictures, and mementos from your flight. You can share these with friends and family for a lifetime," the website states. 


"You’ll also belong to an exclusive Blue Origin alumni network — a community of modern space pioneers. Make history with a suborbital flight, and you will receive early access to purchase tickets for our future orbital missions."



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  • 2 weeks later...

Blue Origins SV from CCDev-2 is a bionic vehicle which uses nose first pitched up re-entry, and it has has a pair of flipperons at the rear for entry steering like ITS. Docking port also at the rear.


Much like Russia's Kliper, but minus the winglets.






Edited by DocM
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  • 3 months later...



Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has plans for big expansion of Seattle-area HQ



Hardware is spread across the New Shepard assembly area. (Credit: Blue Origin)



Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, has out-of-this-world ambitions – with expansion plans to match.


Permit filings at the city of Kent, Wash., reveal plans for a 236,000-square-foot warehouse complex and 102,900 square feet of office space, southwest of Blue Origin’s current 300,000-square-foot headquarters and rocket production facility in an industrial area of the city.


Last year, Blue Origin purchased a 120,000-square-foot warehouse building across the street from its headquarters to support the production of the company’s BE-3 and BE-4 rocket engines, as well as its New Shepard suborbital boosters and crew capsules.


“When we go to the next step with our next rocket, we’re going to use that building as a bigger facility for production,” the Puget Sound Business Journal quoted Blue Origin’s president, Rob Meyerson, as saying.


Blue Origin didn’t respond to GeekWire’s inquiries about the existing warehouse building, or the bigger project that’s under consideration. But a planner for the city of Kent, Jason Garnham, confirmed that the future project is still in the works.



In an email, Garnham told GeekWire that the construction permit applications are “currently on hold, pending our request for more information regarding environmental conditions of the site.”


“Meanwhile, the project is also under review by other jurisdictions such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the applicant is awaiting review and approval by those agencies before proceeding,” Garnham said.


The reviews could take another two to four months, he said.


The project is listed in city records as “Avenue 55 Blue Origin.” Avenue 55, a Seattle-based development management company, did not respond to GeekWire’s requests for comment.


Blue Origin’s workforce is growing along with its expansion plans. Last March, the company said it had 600 employees, but the number has since risen closer to 1,000. More than 100 job openings are listed on its website. Virtually all of those jobs are in Kent, 16 miles south of Seattle, with a smattering of additional openings at Blue Origin’s West Texas suborbital launch site and at its Florida office.


A 750,000-square-foot factory is currently under construction near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and it’s due to be ready to manufacture Blue Origin’s New Glenn orbital rockets by the end of 2017.

much more at the link...a few images as well...



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This is why BO isn't going to be a success. They're playing on timetables that are the "OldSpace" way -- sure, it makes the OldSpace players happy, including the old-school, entrenched elements in Mil/Gov who are comfortable with things being done that way -- but BO is going to fail doing things like that. 


It's taken them two years just to decide if they actually want to build the BE-4, for example. SpaceX, otoh, have been in full-bore RD&D of Raptor for at least THREE. It's nearly ready for a chassis now.


So, to sum up -- naaaah. By the time ULA actually decide that they want the BE-4, they'll change directions again (in two years, and it'll be in some kind of Steering Committee for six months to a year after that just to decide they don't actually want it) BO will be left high and dry, holding the engines they've already built. As is typical for ULA -- say they want something then change their minds at the last minute because they can't have anyone doing anything that they can't do themselves. Collapsing someone else's business just outta spite, etc. Because that's how they survive. Harassment, predatory business practices, toxic and otherwise malevolent business dealings.


Bezos should have known better. Now it's gonna bite him in the ass. Wait and see ....


Of course, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. :laugh::rofl:

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I have a bit of a different take on it. I despise politics and religion and therefore remove it from the equation.


Overall, I am just happy that globally, we have an increasing number of wealthy individuals investing in STEM initiatives, Newspace being one of them. We all reap the benefits of their investments, and the investments can be associated with varying lengths of time.


Jeff Bezos has deep pockets and doesn't rely on anyone per say. He will build the company his way and I have the utmost confidence in him being a success.


The New Glenn will be the turning point...the tourist route is just the baby steps.



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28 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:


Im more optimistic about BO, the current competitors excluding SpaceX are working on the same or worse time lines with much worse management overhead. 


Current Launch Vendors

ULA - we know the issues there, from slow time frames to old space management issues

Orbital - they are nearly as bad as ULA and are just looking for pork. Im not sure if they will even be able to handle another failure.

ESA - has a management overhead and price issue

Russia - we know their current quality issues and their failure to decide on a rocket moving forward.

ISRO - Cheap but i doubt that NASA will use them for ISS tasks. Maybe....

JAXA - have a nice launcher but no craft. They could launch the seria nevada craft. Maybe(not sure about logistics)

CNSA - NASA/USA still have their issues with China so does a lot of satellite vendors so i dont see them as a competitors



They seem to be starting to up the funding, increasing staff numbers and locations is a start to that, but i think they have a more cautious approach.


If Bezos keeps shelling out cash I dont doubt that they will one day have a nice service. But I dont think they will be winning any races.

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I hope you folks are right about Bezos and his intentions with BO. I've just got an aching and deep-rooted mistrust of LH/M (read: Grumman), Boeing and ULA in general that it's hard to really shake. Remember, I've been around that group in the past when I was Enlisted and I know how they operate. Their singular motivation, at least at the Management level, is money. All other considerations are to that end. They fear losing that lifeline, and will do some nasty, underhanded and truly sadistic things if it means getting more of it or even keeping it going.


Their Engineers and Laborers? Some of the finest, smartest and loyal people on the face of the Earth. A lot of them ex-Military themselves who just wanted secure futures and had the credentials to do the job. My issues aren't with them -- in fact, I'd gladly work with them on just about anything that needed to be built, anytime, anywhere. They aren't to blame for what Management does. To be honest, working for ULA, LH/M or Boeing would be the "dream job" for just about anybody -- and they'd be stupid to turn down an opportunity like that -- as long as it wasn't for Administration.


There's no amount of money that would, or could, get me to accept a position working inside the "snake pit". Seriously. Anyone who's ever seen the Representatives of a Milspec Corporation knows that "cold shudder" when they're around. That "uneasy feeling", like you just can't trust them. I'll never forget feeling like I shouldn't be anywhere near those people ... like I needed to find the nearest latrine and go throw up simply from being in their presence. It wasn't often I'd feel like that about a human being -- really the only other time was when I was in Rehab and having to sit with the truly hardcore Addicts, the ones who didn't have a "soul". The ones you just knew would kill you and not give two rat [rear ends] about it, like you knew you needed to watch 'em.


*sigh* Maybe I'm just too uptight. I dunno. It's very likely. I do have trust issues and needed to cut down on the caffeine, then as well as now. Don't mind me. :laugh:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Launcher agnostic, so whatever vehicle meets the mission  cost constraints. Can land ~4.536 metric tonnes.


Blue Origin Developing 10,000-lb. Lunar Polar Lander

A robotic lunar lander capable of delivering as much as 10,000 lb. of cargo to a permanent outpost on the rim of the Moon’s polar Shackleton Crater could make its first flight by July 2020, with a little help from NASA.

Blue Origin owner Jeff Bezos said on Thursday that his company has been working on a cargo lander that would support a human base set up in a zone of almost full-time sunlight on the crater’s rim. The site is adjacent to the permanently shadowed cold sink inside the crater where scientists believe there are deposits of water ice that can be exploited for future deep-space exploration.

Bezos and executives of the launch-vehicle company he is bankrolling with some of his Amazon wealth presented the idea Thursday to Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot and managers from the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) mission directorate. He said later the concept was well-received by the government engineers, who have been developing precision-landing and other technology Blue Origin needs to make its Moonbase-logistics concept a reality.

“We are hoping to partner with NASA on a program called Blue Moon, where we would provide the cargo-delivery service to the surface of the Moon, with the intent over time of building a permanently inhabited human settlement on the Moon,” said Bezos. “It’s time for America to go back to the Moon, this time to stay.”

Bezos discussed the concept – first reported in The Washington Post - at Aviation Week’s annual Laureates banquet, where Blue Origin received the Space Laureate for its initial unmanned flight-test campaign with its New Shepard suborbital space-tourism vehicle.

The New Shepard, set to begin flying humans this year, is the basis for the Blue Moon concept, Bezos said. Its BE-3U upper stage engine, a high-altitude variant of the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 that took the first New Shepard booster to space five times in 2016 without a change-out, would send the lander into its trans-lunar injection trajectory. It would retain enough capability after that to begin slowing the vehicle toward its target on the lunar surface, he said.

Like New Shepard, Blue Moon would land tail-down, braking with retropropulsion from a set of 11,000-lb.-thrust liquid oxygen/methane engines already in development at Blue Origin’s Kent, Washington, facility, Bezos said.

The lander would be “launch-vehicle agnostic,” able to lift off from Earth on NASA’s heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), the United Launch Alliance Atlas V; the reusable New Glenn orbital launcher Blue Origin is developing, and even the Falcon Heavy under development by reusable-launch rival SpaceX.

Bezos said the lander’s payload would be scalable, with an SLS launch enabling 10,000 lb. to the lunar surface and smaller payloads on less capable launchers achieved by reducing the propellant load and number of descent engines.

Planetary scientists and spaceflight engineers have long been interested in establishing a base on a plateau overlooking Shackleton Crater, at a spot that receives almost full-time sunlight as the Moon orbits the Earth (see illustration above). Solar energy could power a base set up where astronauts and robots could mine the water ice preserved in the permanent darkness inside the crater and convert it into hydrogen and oxygen for propulsion and life support.

Bezos said Blue Origin also is working on in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technology that could handle that job. But it needs technology NASA has been developing to achieve the precision required for landing near permanent structures.

Known as Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (Alhat), the system developed by Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses flash lidar and sophisticated algorithms to characterize the terrain below and avoid hazards autonomously. Alhat has been demonstrated on a small lander testbed dubbed Morpheus.

Bezos argued Thursday that a return to the Moon, with the resources available there with ISRU, is the next logical step on the way to Mars and other destinations deeper in the Solar System. He repeated his company’s goals of having “millions of people living and working in space.”

“These things take time,” he said. “I don’t plan on skipping steps.”

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A comparison, just because it's an obvious one given timing. Bear in mind that Raptor is about 60% the size of BE-4, and just a bit larger than Merlin.



Props: liquid oxygen/liquid methane
Cycle: (single pre-burner) staged combustion
Chamber pressure: 13.4 MPa (1,950 psi)
Thrust (S/L): 2,400 kN (539,541 lb-f)

Thrust (Vac): N/A



Props: liquid oxygen/liquid methane

Cycle: (dual pre-burner) full flow staged combustion
Chamber pressure: 30 MPa (4,400 psi)

Thrust (S/L): 3,050 kN (690,000 lb-f)
Thrust (Vac): 3,285 kN (738,000 lb-f)


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If BE-4 is as far as along as BO says it is, Why are there no videos of it test firing fully assembled? The ones I see online look like the preburner. Much too small to be the power head.  Are they having problems cooling of the chamber?

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I certainly hope they've done their homework on the BE-4. Just because the design adds up doesn't mean a thing. That's "late-80's/early-90's" thinking, and because of that there were so many debacles in the space program (the problem with HST, Galileo's primary communications array not unfolding properly, the issues with Mars Probes, numerous launch failures because of improperly designed components) ... 


It's BO and they're a good, robust and capable Crew so I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt here -- but they'd better cover all the angles here and check their math before lighting that cake. I'll feel a lot better after seeing the BE-4 put through some test stand trials instead of simply installing it into a rocket and saying "cross your fingers".

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I guess I just thought they would be further along with all the old space money being poured into the program. 


They are starting quite big with the New Glenn. Not many companies would start right off the bat with an orbital rocket of 3.850 mlbf.  


Correct me if I'm wrong, but SpaceX was smart keeping Raptor smaller. Smaller means less surface area on the combustion chamber and in turn less weight to reinforce the 4,400 psi pushing outward on it. 

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Blue Origins new engine isnt good enough for some congressmen

Instead of the BE-4, Alabama representative wants an engine built in his state.

In 2014, the rocket company United Launch Alliance (ULA) entered into an agreement with Blue Origin to jointly fund development of the latter company's BE-4 rocket engine. While ULA didn't commit to using the Blue Origin engine in its next-generation booster, its "significant" investment signaled it was enthused about the innovative rocket engine. However some members of Congress have been pushing ULA to use a different engine, the AR1, being developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

At the end of February, two US representatives, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Mac Thornberry of Texas, decided to push a little harder. On February 28, they sent a letter to Lisa Disbrow, the acting secretary of the US Air Force, and James MacStravic, who is performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics. In addition to reiterating a desire that ULA continue to fly a second rocket, the Delta IV Heavy, the letter urges the Pentagon officials to be skeptical about the BE-4 engine.

"The United States Government (USG) must have a hands-on, decision-making role... in any decision made by United Launch Alliance to down-select engines on its proposed Vulcan space launch system, especially where one of the technologies is unproven at the required size and power," the letter states. "If ULA plans on requesting hundreds of millions of dollars from the USG for development of its launch vehicle and associated infrastructure, then it is not only appropriate but required that the USG have a significant role in the decision-making concerning the vehicle." The letter then goes on to say the Air Force should not give any additional funding to ULA, other than for current launch vehicles, until the company provides "full access, oversight of, and approval rights over decision-making" in its choice of contractors for the engines on Vulcan.

On Thursday evening a spokeswoman for ULA, Jessica Rye, said ULA will continue to support the Department of Defense's needs. "We will work with the Congress to resolve concerns raised in the letter," she said.


Although both Rogers and Thornberry are members of the House Armed Services Committee, it is difficult to avoid ascribing at least some political motives to the letter. In January, Aerojet Rocketdyne said it would produce the AR1 rocket engine in Huntsville, Alabama, creating 100 new jobs near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Already, another Huntsville company, Dynetics, has become a subcontractor for the engines main propulsion system. (A spokesman for Rogers didn't not reply to a request for comment).

As part of the January announcement, another Alabama lawmaker, Senator Richard Shelby, praised the company's decision to build its engines in Huntsville. "Aerojet Rocketdyne's announcement that it is bringing 100 new jobs to Huntsville is excellent news for our state," Shelby said at the time. "I look forward to working with them and other businesses to bring economic development to Alabama."

A former adviser to President Obama, whose administration sought to increase commercialization of US space flight, says this appears to be a case of elevating local politics above what's best for the nation in space. "This letter puts Alabama first instead of America first," Phil Larson told Ars. "NASA, the Pentagon, and our country will be better situated with a robust, diversified, and innovative commercial space industry here in the United States. By targeting an innovative partnership between established and upstart companies, this letter shows that Alabama's delegation is stuck in the past."

Better with Blue?

With its workhorse Atlas V rocket, ULA has launched satellites for the US defense and intelligence communities for more than a decadeit was the sole provider until SpaceX was recently certified for some launches. But by 2014, as tensions between the United States and Russia were spiking due to the Crimean crisis, ULA came under pressure from Congress to end its use of the Russian RD-180 engine. The engine is extremely reliable, but Congress did not want to see us using Russian technology to get our national security assets into space.

As ULA moved forward with development of its Vulcan rocket, it needed new engines, ones made in the United States. In addition to the Blue Origin partnership, ULA also said it was working with the California-based Aerojet Rocketdyne as a back-up option. The company has a long history of building large rocket engines, including the Space Shuttle main engines. Aerojet has since said that it is developing the AR1 engine as the option that will provide the "lowest cost to the taxpayer."

That remains a questionable assertion, however, as the US government announced last year that its initial investment in the AR1 engine would cost up to $536 million. The government has not yet invested any funds directly on BE-4 development; before ULA's investment, Blue Origin had spent its own money and a couple of years developing the BE-4 engine. (The ULA funds helped scale the liquid oxygen-methane engine from a thrust of 400,000 pound-force to 550,000 lbf). Eventually, once ULA selects an engine, it's likely that government funds will support the integration of the rocket, as it will be called upon for national security launches.

Both the BE-4 and AR1 engines are at various stages of development. By some estimates, the BE-4 is one or more years ahead of the AR1 engine in terms of readiness for launch, and Blue Origin may begin full-scale tests within the next month.

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