Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin To Launch Space Shuttle This Summer

    February 29, 2012
    Drew Bowling
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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is more than just the boss of one of the world’s biggest e-businesses. He’s also a venture capitalist in the field of space exploration.

Blue Origin, the space travel venture owned by Bezos, is preparing to test out a new system for aborting a launch, perhaps as soon as this summer. Bezos’ company received an award from NASA as part of the space program’s commercial development program in order to develop a new launch system that deviates from the traditional rockets that are used to boost a shuttle into the air. The rocket, called New Shepard, utilizes rocket motors that are attached to the bottom of the crew capsule. From Flightglobal:

The New Shepard rocket is designed to reach apogee at approximately 100km, at which point a capsule will separate and continue on an upward trajectory. The now capsule-less rocket will tip over, deploying a flared surface to improve stability and increase drag, firing its engines just above the Earth’s surface to land gently back at its launch pad.

This summer’s launch would mark the second attempt by Blue Origin to innovate the new capsule detachment mechanism.

This will mark the second attempt that Blue Origin has made with launching its shuttle, New Shepard. Check out the videos below to see the previous launch tests the company’s conducted.

Prior to this endeavor, Virgin media mogul Richard Branson is perhaps the other most notable venture capitalist to try explore the possibility of a privatized space travel program. Do you think these sorts of projects help develop space exploration as a whole, or should these guys just leave this stuff to NASA? Comment below with your thoughts.

  • Orange Destiny

    1) A test of an abort motor does not require a vehicle flight. Also, Blue Origin does not have a ‘Shuttle’. It is working to place a ‘capsule’ on top of a propulsion module. The headline of this article is misleading.

    2) The flights in 2011 had nothing to do with the pusher abort system. They were tests of Propulsion Module 2 (PM2). Any pusher escape motor testing that may have been done would have been done separate from PM2.

    3) After the destruction of PM2 in September, I would be very very surprised to see PM3 up and flying in 2012. They have to first identify what went wrong with PM2, fix it, fix anything else that may have been found, then build PM3 and test it before they can fly it. That is inherently a long process.

    4) Of the two videos you have above, the first is of Goddard, which was essentially a concept and learning vehicle. The second is of PM2, part of the New Shepard program.

    5) Per privatized space: You failed to mention Elon Musk and SpaceX, without a doubt the most successful of these endeavors to date, as they have already achieved unmanned orbit and return. Scaled has achieved manned suborbit and return. Blue has achieved unmanned 600 feet and return.

    Regarding Blue Origin: Look for ground-based pusher escape motor tests in 2012 and PM3 flight no sooner than 2014. Rob M.: please prove me wrong. That would actually be welcome.

    • http://www.elevenreasons.com Clint

      Check out Elevenreasons.com

  • http://www.elevenreasons.com Clint

    Great article!I am a founder of Elevenreasons.com and we are posting about the privatization of space exploration for tomorrow’s topic. You should check it out and give your reason. It’s a great place to get your voice heard and to hear others as well. All you have to do is login with your Facebook account and give your reason. Thanks.