Points to Bezos for being on the first one, too. I’m not ashamed to admit that in his place I might have been more thoughtful about acquiring that particular honor. Although I’d like to think I would have gone for it, too.
Blue Origin completed another test flight of its New Shepard vehicle April 14, putting the company on the verge of finally flying people.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle lifted off from the company’s West Texas test site, known as Launch Site One by the company, at 12:51 p.m. Eastern. The capsule, separating from its booster after the powered phase of flight, reached a peak altitude of about 106 kilometers before parachuting to a soft landing 10 and a half minutes after liftoff, three minutes after the booster made a powered landing.
Video here. New Shepard’s close enough to a rocketship to make me smile: as they say, it goes up on a pillar of fire and comes down on a pillar of fire, just like God and Bob Heinlein intended. If only they didn’t have to pop off the top every time… oh, well, it’s early days yet.
I originally wrote ‘rocketeering,’ but that would have had the wrong connotations.
One of Huntsville’s historic Apollo engine test stands is coming back to life under an agreement between NASA and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space company.
NASA announced Wednesday it has signed an agreement to let Blue Origin use Marshall Test Stand 4670 to test its BE-3U and BE-4 rocket engines. The BE-4 has been selected to power United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket and Blue’s New Glenn rocket.
Huntsville, where we keep the rocketmen; and [the rest of this sentence has been redacted in the interest of national security]. There are three seasons in Alabama: hot and rainy, just hot, and just rainy. Just as happy to skip that, thanks.
I forget where I saw this first, but: Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is setting up a shop at Rocket City. For those who don’t know, Huntsville Alabama is where a lot of our commercial rocket infrastructure ended up after World War 2. The 23rd century is going to romanticize the heck out of the place in their popular fiction, but for right now it’s a place where serious work is being done. The goal here is avowedly to re-acquire an American alternative to Russian rocket engines; Blue Origin’s engines will be the ones ending up in ULA’s Vulcan rockets. And, of course: the more American manufacturing infrastructure in place here, the better.
…[Blue Origin] finally has its first paying customer as it ramps up to become a full-fledged business.
Mr. Bezos announced that customer, the satellite television provider Eutelsat, on Tuesday. In about five years, Eutelsat, which is based in Paris, will strap one of its satellites to a new Blue Origin rocket to be delivered to space, a process it has done dozens of times with other space partners.
It’s not quite a rocket ship that goes up under its own power, and back down under its own power, just as God and Bob Heinlein intended; but that’s coming along. Also: Jeff Bezos is now a strong contender to be named God-Emperor of the Geeks. But you knew that already.