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Reusable Rockets from Bezos’ Space Company Blue Origin

Space is the new frontier for successful entrepreneurs who have enough discretionary cash to target this capital intensive niche where lucrative opportunities abound. Startups like Branson’s Oneweb promise internet access for everyone via a massive network of small satellites, while Musk’s SpaceX has already succeeded in delivering cargo to the International Space Station. Another player in the space industry is Jeff Bezos whose space startup Blue Origin made the news this week by being the first company to successfully complete a controlled descent of a rocket with no parachute (watch the video here) from an altitude of over 62 miles above the earth.

Reusable Rockets from Bezos’ Space Company Blue Origin

Blue_Origin_Logo

 

 

Founded in 2011, Blue Origin has taken in just one round of $200 million in seed money from the legendary founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. The Company has developed a fully reusable rocket system called the New Shepard which can take both humans and payloads into space. While the capsule lands via parachute, the rocket lands using vertical thrust as seen below:

Blue_Origin_Flight

Elon Musk’s SpaceX attempted the very same feat twice this year and failed each time. Previously, this type of landing has only been accomplished after reaching a maximum height of 3 kilometers or so. So what does Blue Origin plan to do once they’ve worked the kinks out of their reusable rocket? Well in addition to sending payloads into space for academic and corporate clients, they also intend to offer something called the “Astronaut Experience”.

A few days before the launch, you’ll arrive in West Texas where you’ll undergo a day of training in preparation for the launch. You’ll then be placed in one of the 6 seats available in their capsule which sits 60 feet above ground on top of the rocket. The specially designed capsule is roomy and provides great visibility with windows making up a 3rd of the capsule.

Blue_Origin_Windows

You’ll then experience 3 Gs of acceleration for about 150 seconds before the vehicle glides into space where you can then enjoy about 4 minutes of weightlessness and picture taking before descending back to earth at forces of over 5 Gs prior to parachute deployment. The entire trip will take about 11 minutes and while no indication has been given as to the price of one of these 6 seats, you can be sure that people will be lining up for the “Astronaut Experience” at whatever price point it settles at.

So when can we expect to see the Blue Origin “Astronaut Experience” come online? Research payloads are expected to begin by mid-2016 followed by humans “a couple years from now” according to Mr. Bezos. With the deep pockets of the Company’s founder, it’s safe to say that Blue Origin probably won’t need to go to the equity markets for funding. The fact that their rockets are reusable also brings down the cost per flight significantly. However, an IPO from Blue Origin could provide some great publicity to let the world know about the “Astronaut Experience” and make all those investment bankers aware of something new and unique for them to spend their bonuses on.

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  • Gordon

    I am excited to see the development of their technolohy. The only issue I have with the article is comparing it to SpaceX. While I am very impressed with the launch and landing of the Blue Origin rocket, it differs from the SpaceX attempted launch and landing. The Blue Origin rocket as it exists did not and is currently not able to launch a capsule to the ISS as part of the launch landing. In addition, Blue Origin had the luxury of landing on stable land as apposed to a moving ship on the ocean. Still impressive however. I believe the air breaking system is genius.

    • Nanalyze

      Thank you for the comment Gordon. Yes, if you watch both videos you can see how much more difficult the SpaceX landing is compared to the Blue Origin landing. And that air braking system is nothing short of genius, period. What an incredible achievement for mankind!

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