Blue Origin New Shepard Flight Set for Wednesday

Update: Launch tomorrow slated for 9:00 am CT / 14:00 UTC. Live webcast begins at T-20 minutes on http://BlueOrigin.com.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    After tomorrow, I hope they’ll seriously consider putting in a test pilot or two.

  • redneck

    After tomorrow I hope they step up flight cadence to something that looks like a serious step toward real operation.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    The world’s richest man does things on his schedule. He never needed sub-orbital space tourism to fund B.O. and at this point, I doubt that many people care about rich tourists taking the world’s highest amusement park ride. Most of us can’t afford it anyway. New Shepard is essentially a test bed for New Glenn and New Armstrong. If he wants to increase the cadence, that would be cool but once SX and Boeing qualify and start flying Dragon 2 and Starliner, the next commercial passenger thrill ride will be to orbit.

  • Arthur Hamilton

    Crew Dragon and Starliner are exploration type LEO shuttle vehicles built for mostly NASA use. BFS is the vehicle that Musk has planned to use to open up space to more people, other than government. In 8 to ten years there should be 2 or 4 day cruises in Earth orbital space available on BFS, I am hoping.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    Whether he succeeds in opening up space to more people will depend on if he can get the cost per pound to orbit down to something approaching transcontinental airline prices. Otherwise you will have a very small sample of potential customers that will eventually get bored with orbital tourism and spend their money elsewhere. Space hotels will be costly on top of transportation so even a smaller number of people will be able to afford it. At any rate, if your 8-10 year time frame holds B.O. will definitely be in position to compete.

  • IamGrimalkin

    But there’s a difference in scale here.

    To fly as a tourist on a New Shepard suborbital flight you have to be rich. To do so on dragon/starliner you have to be *very* rich.

    New Sheprard fills the niche of space tourism for rich people who can’t afford the orbital version.

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    SpaceX are building a transportation system capable of putting colonists on Mars. But in order to afford to do so, BFR will also have to be capable of serving LEO to lunar. Elon may be “focused” on Mars, but that in no way eliminates BFR from cis-lunar activities. Not to sing the praises of SpaceX, so much as to criticise the rate of progress of BO. BO has already stated that they have no plans to put humans in orbit for at least another 10 years. Bezos will have to dial up his ambition a tad more ferociously to be “the major player”. in comparison to BFR, New Glenn and Blue Moon can hardly be considered as anything more than token attempts to move towards “millions of people living and working in space”. BO’s cadence has certainly picked up in the last couple of years, but to be a serious cis-lunar “major player” they need New Armstrong and more asap.

  • Dave Salt

    I assume they will retire/write-off this vehicle (i.e. New Shepard Mk.II) like they did the last one (i.e. New Shepard Mk.I) and that the next one (i.e. New Shepard Mk.III) is the human rated version?

  • SamuelRoman13

    The capsule separates each time anyway, so what will be the test? Blow up the booster to see what damage is done? No engine control, so abort while the engine is at full throttle? A test of some the many possible malfunctions. Might be worth watching live.

  • Lee

    Unless BO picks up the pace, they will be left behind. You don’t lower costs by flying one mission every 3 months to a year. Unless the launch rate picks up in the next two years, BO is done. No matter how much money Bezos has.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    I hadn’t heard that they “had no plans to put humans in orbit for at least another 10 years.” That seems inconsistent with building New Glenn. Still, I’m not trying to compare companies. SpaceX is clearly leading the charge from a technology standpoint although their position will be a lot stronger when they actually get around to putting people in space. Musk’s constant focus on the next horizon is disheartening. I think Blue Origin will be fine although I agree that if they see themselves as competitors or see space launch as a viable business for the future and not just a hobby for Bezos, they need to pick up the pace and go full bore on at least New Glenn.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    I was actually talking about Musk lowering the cost per pound but that applies to B.O. and ULA and ESA and even Virgin Galactic as well. New Shepard is just a test vehicle and I would be very interested in knowing why you think B.O. is done in the next two years unless the launch rate increases.

  • Lee

    Because if BO continues at the current launch rate:

    1) They will be slow to learn lessons. The key to achieving a critical mass is fast turnaround. Fly, identify, fix, repeat. More often than once every three months to a year.

    2) If you’re only launching four times a year, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby. People get tired of hobbies and move on to something else. Maybe not Bezos, but his key engineers will.

    3) Apparently, Bezos isn’t using his money very efficiently. Based on the claim that he’s putting $1B/year into BO, he has very little to show for it.

    Why do you think the BO approach is working? What tangible evidence is there that progress is actually being made? I see little or none.

  • Hemingway

    The flight was fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jeff2Space

    From the video it appears that the abort booster didn’t fire until well after booster separation. Seems like a test at the highest altitude and speed possible.

  • Jeff2Space

    BO is working on New Glenn, which is an EELV class orbital launch vehicle. That’s what needs to fly successfully in the next several years in order for the company to be successful. I believe that the first stage of New Glenn will be reusable, so it will be roughly equivalent to Falcon 9. After that they plan on an even bigger launch vehicle, New Armstrong, which is intended to be able to launch missions to the moon. I’m not sure how many of New Armstrong’s stages are intended to be reused.