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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:42 PM
Original message
Secretive Space Vehicle Tested at Private Texas Site
Source: Space

That secretive rocket work being bankrolled by billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com fame has shed some new light on its activities.

Blue Origin is developing New Shepard, a rocket-propelled vehicle that takes off and lands vertically and is designed to routinely fly multiple astronauts into suborbital space at competitive prices.

Flight tests of the suborbital craft have been staged at a private launch site in Texas.

Blue Origin is now noting that, in addition to providing the public with opportunities to experience spaceflight, New Shepard will also provide frequent opportunities for researchers to fly experiments into space and a microgravity environment.

. . .

This activity would be in addition to, not in place of, Blue Origin's long-standing plans for human-carrying commercial flights. The first opportunities for autonomous or remotely controlled experiments on unpiloted flights could be as early as 2011 and the first ones requiring accompanying research astronauts would be available as early as 2012.

Read more: http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/081208-blue-origin...




Private space exploration. Who knew?
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MichaelHarris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. The vacuum of space
is a great place to store books.
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lapfog_1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. And it's an even better place to store
Jeff Bezos.
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Wickerman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. That is some advanced space vehicle
They've personalized it to the point its actually secretive! Wow!
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Nevernose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. When asked about its 2001 DUI conviction, the space vehicle said
"No comment, except tell those bastards to free OJ!" A look at the secretive space vehicle's MySpace account lists its hobbies as "smokin' weed and gettin' high -- no, series-ly HIGH! Shout outz to allz my boyz at the X-Prize...wat up bitchez!!!!! Look at me NOWWWWW!!!!!!"

The space vehicle public spokesperson has denied all rumors of an illegitimate child with a Titan rocket housed at Edwards Air Force base in California.
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lurky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
4. In Texas? Bush is preparing his escape pod!
:P
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 08:44 PM
Response to Original message
6. Picture... I wonder what fuel it uses?
One of the camera views showed a lot of condensation on the lens or protective glass. Peroxide engines, maybe?

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MilesColtrane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. A Mr. Burns style escape pod?
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soothsayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
8. looks like we've reverse engineered some early captured crafts. once our science
catches up, we can do the really cool stuff.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:52 AM
Original message
It looks like we've reverse engineered Apollo
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tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:24 PM
Response to Original message
9. Jeff Bezos is D.D. Harriman
I hope he has all the success in the world.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
10. They need to paint it like this.
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ksimons Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. hahaha
talk about 'corn' :)
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. My joke isn't as tasteless as the candy
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
11. I think it is a silly concept .....
Edited on Tue Dec-09-08 01:00 AM by Trajan
I am no astronautical engineer ... but ...

That thing is going to suck down SO much fuel during 'hover' operations, and without considerable a fuel storage structure, it seems unlikely to possess the robustness required of a reliable spacecraft system ... It would need to land with enough fuel to power the landing .. but what if they used more than expected during launch ??? .... It is also prone to crosswind effects during the landing phase which could topple the system near earth ...

I am not hopeful that Blue Origin can overcome those difficulties ... Elon Musk's "Dragon" @ Space X seems the most likely candidate for the first private human flight to orbit, but it will be a more traditional multi-stage system, and the capsule will land with an extremely nostalgic ocean splashdown ....

Here is a pic of the 'original' vertical SSTO : The McDonnell Douglas DC-X





From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_DC-X

The future of the DC-X

Several engineers who worked on the DC-X have since been hired by Blue Origin, and their Blue Origin New Shepard vehicle is based on the DC-X design. Blue Origin does not require the high cross range capabilities, and therefore uses a base-first re-entry profile. Also, the DC-X provided inspiration for many elements of Armadillo Aerospace's, Masten Space Systems's, and TGV Rockets's spacecraft designs.

Returning the DC-X design to NASA's active research portfolio has been considered for some time now. Some NASA engineers believe that the DC-X could provide a solution for a manned Mars lander. Had a DC-type craft been developed that operated as an SSTO in Earth's gravity well, even if with only a minimum 4-6 crew capacity, variants of it might prove extremely capable for both Mars and Moon missions. Such a variant's basic operation would have to be "reversed"; from taking off and then landing, to landing first then taking off. Yet, if this could be accomplished on Earth, the weaker gravity found at both Mars and the Moon would make for dramatically greater payload capabilities, particularly at the latter destination.

Some proposed design changes include using an oxidizer/fuel combination that doesn't require the relatively extensive ground support required for the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that DC-X utilized, and adding a fifth leg for increased stability during and after landing. Recently, NASA's Centennial Challenges program has announced a suborbital Lunar Lander Challenge which is a prize for the first team to build a VTVL rocket that has the same delta-v as a vehicle capable of landing on the moon and operate it under competition conditions.

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

Here is an interesting snippet:

The first flight on 18 May 1996 resulted in a minor fire when the deliberate "slow landing" resulted in overheating of the aeroshell. The damage was quickly repaired and the vehicle flew two more times on 7 and 8 June, a 26-hour turnaround. On the second of these flights the vehicle set its altitude and duration records, 3140 meters and 142 seconds of flight time. Its next flight, on 7 July, proved to be its last. During testing, one of the LOX tanks had been cracked. When a landing strut failed to extend due to a disconnected hydraulic line, the DC-XA fell over and the tank leaked. Normally the structural damage from such a fall would constitute only a setback, but the LOX from the leaking tank fed a fire which severely burned the DC-XA, completely destroying it.

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

For the Record: I worked for Rockwell at the time, who also proposed a SSTO vehicle known as 'X-33' ... It was based more or less on the existing space shuttle, and was rather conservative in that regard .... It lost out to the more exotic Lockheed VentureStar, which itself proved to be an unworkable design that never made it passed the 1/5 scale model stage after the composite fuel tank ruptured ... There was no feasible redesign possible .... It was cancelled as well ...

As it turned out, the 'conventional' Rockwell X-33 was the most viable option ....
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 06:39 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Is there a real 'hover' in it?
In space, the Crew Capsule will separate from the PM and the two will reenter and land separately for re-use.

The Crew Capsule will land softly under a parachute at the launch site.


They don't seem to specify how the propulsion module lands, but if you're going to do the crew capsule with a parachute, I'd think you'd do an unmanned section the same way.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 07:52 AM
Response to Original message
14. Weird. Wonder how far this'll go. nt
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
15. It reminds me of that old "Lunar Lander" game!
Actually, I first played that after coding the instructions into an HP programmable calculator in the mid 70's. No graphics of course, you just entered a thrust value and got back an altitude and velocity before punching in the next thrust value. It was still fun. I usually crashed ;}

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