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Space

Jeff Bezos to Build Space Center 183

An anonymous reader writes "Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos will build a space facility in west Texas to develop a commercial suborbital spaceship. His space company, Blue Origin, is 'developing vehicles and technologies that, over time, will help enable an enduring human presence in space.'"
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Jeff Bezos to Build Space Center

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  • by kaedemichi255 ( 834073 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:30AM (#11359180)
    One lucky Amazon customer will win a free trip to Mars! w00t w00t!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A One Way Trip To Mars.

      I can see it now: Survivor Mars! Last one standing gets $1m.
    • Bezos' ego knows no bounds. It is very unlikely an amature like Bezos will out do Burt Rutan in commercializing suborbial flight. He is already late to the party. Mr. Rutan's team is well funded by billionaires Paulo Allen and Richard Branson, brilliantly innovative, and have a highly successful track record. I wonder if Bezos will combine with the equally lame effort of John Carmack in West Texas? Bezos is wasting his money.

      • Not like Rutan had experience in anything related to space either. He had experience in composite aircraft design. Perfect for a rocket joyride, but quite inapplicable to *real* spaceflight.

        However, this from the description really caught my eye:

        "Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos will build a space facility in west Texas to develop a commercial suborbital spaceship. His space company, Blue Origin, is 'developing vehicles and technologies that, over time, will help enable an enduring human presence in space.
    • One lucky Amazon customer will win a free trip to Mars!* w00t w00t! *Subject to certain rules and restrictions. Hotel and accomodations not included. Winner must sign huge-ass waiver. Return trip fare $500,000,000.
  • by Gob Blesh It ( 847837 ) <gobblesh1t@gmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:30AM (#11359185)
    Am I karma whoring? Possibly. :)

    Please don't sue me, Microsoft.

    ----

    Amazon founder unveils space center plans

    Bezos' Blue Origin venture to build West Texas rocket facility

    By Alan Boyle
    Science editor, MSNBC
    Updated: 4:58 p.m. ET Jan. 13, 2005


    [Image: Jeff Bezos, who heads Amazon.com and is bankrolling the Blue Origin space venture, strikes a pose at the Seattle headquarters of Amazon.com. Andy Rogers / AP file] [msn.com]

    AFTER YEARS OF WORK BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has gone public with a plan to build a suborbital space facility on a sprawling ranch under the wide open skies of West Texas.

    Bezos' Seattle-based Blue Origin [blueorigin.com] suborbital space venture is starting the process to build an aerospace testing and operations center on a portion of the Corn Ranch, a 165,000-acre spread that the 41-year-old billionaire purchased north of Van Horn, Texas. Over the next six or seven years, the team would use the facility to test components for a craft that could take off and land vertically, carrying three or more riders to the edge of space.

    Blue Origin's team has been laying the groundwork for the hush-hush project from a 53,000-square-foot warehouse in Seattle, but this week's announcement fills out a puzzle that previously could only be guessed on the basis of isolated rumors. Blue Origin has been the most secretive of several space ventures bankrolled by deep-pocketed private backers -- a club that also includes software pioneer Paul Allen (SpaceShipOne), Virgin Group entrepreneur Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) and video-game genius John Carmack (Armadillo Aerospace).

    Details of Bezos' plan were first reported in this week's edition of the Van Horn Advocate [vanhornadvocate.com], the community's newspaper, and confirmed Thursday by Blue Origin spokesman Bruce Hicks.

    Contacts with FAA
    Bezos told the Advocate that Blue Origin already has contacted the Federal Aviation Administration, which plays a lead role in regulating nongovernmental launch facilities. FAA spokesman Hank Price confirmed that Blue Origin was in the midst of the pre-application process for a launch site license.

    But Hicks said Blue Origin was just starting to work on getting the necessary clearances. "Obviously a lot of work needs to be done, including the environmental assessment work, the FAA work and so on," he told MSNBC.com.

    Hicks said the first elements of the facility, including an operations building, an engine test stand and storage tanks for fuel and water, could be built in the next year or two. The facility, along with all the buffer zones required for safety, would take up "maybe 5 percent" of the Corn Ranch acreage, he said.

    Hicks said Bezos and Blue Origin's other principals, program manager Rob Meyerson and launch manager Ed Rutkowski, were not available for comment Thursday.

    Bezos' Southwestern roots
    With an estimated worth of $5.1 billion, Bezos is ranked No. 82 on Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's richest people. Amazon.com, the company he founded in 1994, is one of the world's leading online merchants. Bezos still serves as Amazon's president, chief executive officer and chairman, but in the year 2000 he used millions of dollars from his personal fortune to start up Blue Origin as well, following through on a boyhood dream [msn.com].

    [Image] [msn.com]

    Although Amazon.com and Blue Origin are both headquartered in Seattle, Bezos' roots go back to the American Southwest. He was born in New Mexico and spent childhood summers on his grandfather's ranch in South Texas. Bezos told the Advocate that he learned much from those expe
  • Bezos is trying to speed up human presence in space so he can start work on www.amazon.com.moon, www.amazon.mars, etc. :)
  • Spaceship 1 (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So this uh, "suborbital spaceship," has the range to make it to, I don't know... Crawford Texas? Because that would be grand, I have a pretty good idea of what the payload would be as well.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have a pretty good idea of what the payload would be as well.
      The lost Florida ballots? A clue? Antabuse?
  • by koi88 ( 640490 )

    Book your next holiday on Mars with our patented one click shopping!
  • I am Jeff Bezos [amazon.com]. Welcome to my West Texas lair. We will use my Evil One-Click patent to take over the world. Meet my sidekick, Kevin Spacey [imdb.com]. I call him "mini-me"...
    </Doctor Evil Voice>
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Holy fuck, are you stupid. Also, any joke with stupid tags are fucking lame. You are obviously retarded, so I'll take a Whopper with cheese and onion rings, ya stupid fuck. Also, please ask your teacher in your "life skills" class to explain the basics of humor, because your fucking post isn't simply unfunny but it's fucking anti-funny. You are a shit fleck mistakenly expelled from a fart of humankind, and snf hope you accidentally fry your nuts in the deep fryer at work so you never reproduce when you
  • by SAN1701 ( 537455 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:37AM (#11359228)
    ...if he can manage to get a patent for the "one-click launch button". There's prior art for that!
  • Fascinating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:37AM (#11359230) Homepage
    I have to say, what we may be witnessing is the birth of man's space age. The time when we will begin to populate space en masse.

    I mean, look around. When you have several of the worlds extremely wealthy throwing money at something this big, independently (rather than teaming their efforts), you know that A. there's a SHITLOAD of money to be made, and B. that it has more than a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding because of the pure amount of money that is going to be thrown at it.

    I know some people are worried about the privatization and commercialization of spaceflight, but I think those are perfectly fine methods of bringing this about. Properly regulate it and do it on a global scale. And always remember that populating space is a human quest, not a Bezos quest. He may get us there, but we all win in the end.

    • I have to say, what we may be witnessing is the birth of man's space age.

      I think that's what they said in the fifties and sixties, but alas. I am in general agreement, though, and sooner or later, we shall populate the universe. It's an inevitability.*

      *Assuming we don't get wiped out due to an external occurrence, wipe ourselves out, or otherwise not take steps to populate the universe.

    • Not new (Score:3, Interesting)

      This attempted privatization of space is not new. Many Companies have been trying to reach space since the mid 80s. The problem is that most or all of these have failed to produce a working spacecraft even though they were bank rolled by millionaires.

      So far, only one company, Scaled Composites, seems to be successful at this although I did see a reference about a year ago to some other company that towed their spacecraft out into the sea and launched from a floating platform but I don't recall if they'v

      • SeaLaunch has been operating for five years now, and has launched many commercial satellites for companies like DirecTV, XM Radio, etc.

        Scaled Composites is commercial + manned. SeaLaunch is commercial + orbital. So far, there is nobody offering, or even seriously planning, commercial + manned + orbital.

        -Graham
        • Exactly, Graham - thanks for pointing that out.

          Rutan, while it is impressive that he made a supersonic craft privately (it's nice to see good compressible flow modelling software entering the public arena - look what you can do with it!), he's so far from a real spacecraft, it's not even funny.

          SeaLaunch has had good money behind them, and simply adapted an existing Russian rocket system. Their rocket system actually accomplishes something more than a joyride, and I applaud them (and the Russians who buil
      • The problem is that most or all of these have failed to produce a working spacecraft even though they were bank rolled by millionaires.

        A recent HobbySpace interview with Elon Musk [hobbyspace.com], who founded SpaceX after his financial success with Paypal, explores some of the reasons behind why these prior companies failed. Here's the relevant quote:

        HS: Private rocket development by startup companies in the post-Apollo era includes projects such as Truax's Volksrocket in the late 70s, Conestoga I and AMROC in the 80s
    • Re:Fascinating (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @07:40AM (#11360231) Homepage
      When you have several of the worlds extremely wealthy throwing money at something this big, independently (rather than teaming their efforts), you know that A. there's a SHITLOAD of money to be made, and B. that it has more than a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding because of the pure amount of money that is going to be thrown at it.

      While I wish this were true, I think that's pretty faulty logic. If this were the case, you'd see logical *investment* firms investing in space, which is pretty rare. Bezos, Branson(sp?), and others, have made more money through smart business, than they could possibly ever spend, and are now spending some on some "long shots" that may benefit the good of mankind.

      I applaud these efforts, and any moves by people who are in a position to take some chances for the betterment of mankind.

      But a sound business decision? I think not.

      • I would have to say that its a lot truer now that it was in the past. Technology has advances substantially in the past 20 years ago and at the cutting edge of technology where space travel and exploration is bound to reside its now much more feasible to launch a serious effort at space based business companies. I'm sure that all the Ford's and Daimler's were similarly scoffed when the automobile was in its infancy, now our world is happily polluted by their machines and its only been about a hundred years.
      • If this were the case, you'd see logical *investment* firms investing in space, which is pretty rare.

        Ideally, yes. The thing with investment firms though is that they tend to be very conservative, and have a bit of a herd mentality.
    • Or this has just become an ego trip for the ueber-wealthy to see who can get geek bragging rights.
    • I would go so far as to say that the first Trillionaire will be made in space. The potential for resources and tourism is unbelievable. How many people on /. would be willing to part with a significant chunk of money to spend a week in space? My guess is a fairly large amount.

      It doesn't matter who gets us off our little planet but as long as someone does we'll be ok.
      • Other than the fact that it would most likely drop rather quickly I figured if it gets to space tourism for $30k and doesn't come down for 10 years then I will go or if I get to 45-50 years old then I would try to go. That is a substantial chunk of change but I think it would be worth it far more than most any other investment.
    • Re:Fascinating (Score:4, Informative)

      by costas ( 38724 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:45AM (#11360658) Homepage
      It could also mean that:

      Aerospace technology has been commoditized: a) Rocket engine designs are more obtainable with more trained aero engineers are in the market (from Russia's crumbling industry or the American imploding one). b) Tools, such as super-computers to develop CFD models of engines and/or vehicles are quite affordable (tens or at most hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of millions).

      These rich folks don't have any other better ideas to throw money at: no more internet thingies, or incumbators or other wild-eyed ideas to take over the world.

      Worst case, these millionaires can write off these toys from their taxes. And in the order of things, the whole SpaceShipOne deal cost Paul Allenn less than *one* yaught. Pretty cheap.

      • ... American imploding one ...


        What exactly do you mean by the above expression?
    • Ray Bradbury imagined a mostly privated space effort. It was modeled after the Oklahoma land rush aimed at Mars.
  • We can launch all the chimps from Texas into space... now who do we know like that?
  • and from the article:
    Blue Origin's team has been laying the groundwork for the hush-hush project from a 53,000-square-foot warehouse in Seattle, but this week's announcement fills out a puzzle that previously could only be guessed on the basis of isolated rumors.


    Yeah, sounds like an engineered ploy all the way. Feed the lapdog corporate media a line about how hush hush it is, even while you are making a public announcement about it.

    Are Americans EVER going to catch on?
  • by Jodka ( 520060 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:41AM (#11359252)
    "Over the next six or seven years, the team would use the facility to test components for a craft that could take off and land vertically, carrying three or more riders to the edge of space."

    Carmack Envy.
    • so.. in 6 or 7 years they would get a high jumping glider?

      call me a cynic but ISS is more relevant to human presence in space than that.
    • Carmack Envy.

      Actually, I thought about him as soon as I saw this. The stuff Carmack's venture [armadilloaerospace.com] talks about publicly takes place mostly in Mesquite, which is in Northeast Texas (less than 5 miles from me), roughly 530 miles or so from Van Horn.

      Someone could make a bundle building a spaceport here in Texas, perhaps. I nominate the area that is currently occupied by Texas Stadium in Dallas, since access and parking are already built up in the area, and the stadium itself will likely be torn down once the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2005 @03:44AM (#11359273)
    I would like to see uncle Sam send Gates, Ballmer and Darl on a space mission to visit our nearest star, "to bravely be the first humans to put their feet on the surface of the sun".
  • Give a geek lotsa money and they wanna build big rockets. Looks like the way into space :)
    I wonder who is next ? Any takers ?
  • This is the same company that's picking Neal Stephenson [slashdot.org]'s brain for ideas.

    Bezos seems to be cornerning the markets on futurism and "backing" here. Not too bad a plan, at least for now.

  • by eraserewind ( 446891 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @04:31AM (#11359485)
    I hate to say this, but the problem with human space travel is that there is just nowhere to go. There are no alien civilizations (or even alien plant life) within reach. There are no habitable planets within reach (unless you count Mars or Venus, but as wastelands go, Antartica is paradise in comparison with either of those in terms of human habitation). It sucks, but it's true.
    • Minable asteroids.

      And that's just one of the reasons to go. I think that, when the opportunity arrives, many people will be lining up to colonise Mars. Sure it's a wasteland, but people have given up their comfy homes for the unknown before, to get away from oppressive governments or to carve out a brighter future for them or their kids.
    • Minable asteroids, as the above poster said, and zero-G manufacturing. All economic goldmines easily exploitable for $profit$, if/when orbital launch costs become cheap enough.

      As for human space travel having nowhere to go, that's just a lack of imagination. Mars is an awesome place and adaptable for permanent human habitation! So are several moons of Jupiter and Saturn (maybe). So is our own Luna actually. I'm guessing parent poster is not a Heinlein fan.

      As for the Antarctica comparison... well, Antarc

    • I hate to say this, but the problem with human space travel is that there is just nowhere to go.

      I don't agree. Just one word: tourism. First sub-orbital flights, then orbit, then a few days at the space station, finally (in a distant future) maybe something like Freeside in Neuromancer.

      Of course, there are obstacles: price, environmental impact, safety, but humans have already proved that they are willing to pay a lot for things with no apparent practical gain.

      Cheers

      Raf

    • It's not the destination; it's the journey.
    • I would love to sit in a five star restaraunt in geostationary orbit with a view of the Earth out the window.
    • There are no habitable planets within reach (unless you count Mars or Venus, but as wastelands go, Antartica is paradise in comparison with either of those in terms of human habitation).

      In space discussions, people often raise the point of "If space settlement and resource extraction is so great, why haven't we already done this in Antarctica"? Actually, there are plenty of people and companies who would love to get ahold on regions of Antarctica, but are prevented from doing so by the Antarctic Treaty [wikipedia.org].
  • ... kablamazon.com

    Has a nice ring to it eh?
  • by N3wsByt3 ( 758224 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @04:48AM (#11359547) Journal
    We all heard the reasoning for abolishing space-exploration (particulary human-based) before, and I think the major flaw in all these 'arguments' why we shouldn't go into space is that they always set economic factors as a premise.

    But, although economic viability is important to create a mass-usuage of space(travel), I fail to see why it should be the only possible motive to start exploring space. It's a pretty narrowminded, materialistic and typical capitalistic view on things. It's the same view that makes progress on medication for very rare diseases, or for diseases that are prevalent in continents that are poor, so slow: corporations can't see how they are ever going to get profit out of it, so they all turn their backs on it.

    If ppl (including states) are only going to do something when they are sure of an immediate profitable return, the world has become a sad place. (And we should leave it the sooner ;-)

    Arguments based on such a viewpoint fail to recognise other incentives apart from economical ones.

    The reason why we shouldn't (only) rely on robots? You can explore, but you can not colonise with robots. The will to explore is deeply entrenched in the human race, but with a reason: it has survival advantages.

    A species that doesn't colonise new territory and adapt, will perish. I think it's paramount that humans always keep their adventurage spirit and keep exploring and expanding, because the moment we will go "ah, let's sit back in our sofa's and let our robots/droids do it", we're basically finished, even when not being aware of it at that moment.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      bla bla bla, the classic romantic view. Sorry man, but really think about it, why was America found...for money, why did marco polo go on his quest...for money, etc. To profit is what drives the human race. Humans dont make drugs to help people, they do it because it makes money...lots of it. Such ideas while nice, are blind. Mod me down flamebait or whatever, it must be said.
      • "To profit is what drives the human race."

        No; profit is *one* of the drives of humans. And I'm all for stimulating that drive too, which is why I'm very happy about the succes of Spaceship1 and I hope Branson can pull it off to make an economical viable fleet of spaceplanes.

        But your wrong to think it's the only drive. The men who climbed the Mont Everest didn't do it for profit, Jaque Costeau didn't reserch the seas for profit, CERN wasn't build for profit (and that costs billions too, btw).

        Exploration o
    • Any argument/reasoning for and against human space exploration is moot IMHO. Develop the technology and make the trip cheap enough, and people will go, period. It's in our blood.

      All the bickering about whether NASA should stop sending astronauts into space and focus more on robotic explorations and space telescopes etc. are all due to the fact that going to space is VERY EXPENSIVE. And at this moment, I'm inclined to side with the pro-robotic anti-astronaut crowd. Spending $1 billion per Shuttle launch (y

    • ok, my view on the issue is a simplistic one too. we should just wait 50-100 years.

      why? because every year passing brings the cost of going up there down, and pure joyriding just to 100km doesn't really serve any real purpose. in 30 years we would have much more cpu power to do simulations, have new materials, know more about space's effects on human body(all this we would have WITHOUT dedicating resources directly to space research). after 10 years we could do in a year advancements that now take 4.

      we WI
      • Now, I do understand your argument of 'maybe later, when things will be cheaper', and it has some validity. But then again, one can not claim the drive for expanding the human presence in space is alive and kicking, when you completely halt (actual) human exploration. And, in fact, the argument used that it's not economical beneficial in regard to robotic probes is ALWAYS going to be true: when hardware/etc costs are going to be only a 10th of today in the future, it STILL will be far more expensive to send
        • ah but later you wouldn't need the money(resource) equivalent of keeping 100 000 000 people fed for it, instead you'd just need 10.

          like robosapien :) a toy, but it would have been far too expensive to build 20 years ago, now it was possible to develope it for a toy.

          anyways.. I don't think that we can accelerate the technical knowhow needed to _survive_ in space so fast that it would make sense to go to space yet, in the true frontier sense of things(to do settlements that were self sustaining).
          • Perhaps, but the figure of 100 000 000 is arbitrary chosen. With the same validity, one could say: ah, yes, but why not wait another 100 year, so 10 ppl don't have to starve for it? And then you go to 1 in a hundred, 1 in a thousand, etc.

            Thus, as I said, it only depends on what you think it's worth it, when using that reasoning. At one moment, you'll have to decide: yes, it is worth it (or not). In that respect, I would claim spacetravel is far more worth it then spending hundreds of billions on the milita
    • If ppl (including states) are only going to do something when they are sure of an immediate profitable return, the world has become a sad place. (And we should leave it the sooner ;-)

      what do you think has driven all technology the past 100 years? the past few hundred years? People do things for money, plain and simple.
      • See my post "actually, no".

        Note further that I said 'only' and 'immediate profitable return'.

        Your post seems to indicate you missed that, and therefor it is rather non-relevant as a response.

        It is perfectly possible to claim - without having a contradiction - the fact that people do things for money (I do that too, after all), yet maintain the argument that it would be a sad thing, if immediate profit would be the only drive of people.

        And actually, history, in those same past few hundreds years (and act
    • We all heard the reasoning for abolishing space-exploration

      What's worrying is that there are people out there who actually think they have the right to ban others from going into space. Don't want to go into space? Fine - don't go? But when it comes to others going into space, bugger off and mind your own business.

      Max
  • I wonder what the good folks down in White Sand have to say about this...they may be ticked off by having too much visibility in the area.

    [A rocket launch may scare the shit out of cows!]
  • ...by the 24 century, it will still be turning a profit "Next quarter"
  • as the corepirate nazis' execrabilious foibles could leave the planet nearly uninhabitable.

    some of us po' folk are working on a vessel that floats on almost any suBStance.

    there are rumours that the only real way out is up?

    for more clarity, consult with/trust in yOUR creators, transporting us through time/space/circumstance since/until forever. see you there?
  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @05:06AM (#11359616) Homepage Journal
    I RTFA for a change, and basically it just says that Bezos applied for some permits to open a space launching facility. That and a brief description of Blue Origin and how it's trying to develop suborbital spacecraft in the near future. *yawn*

    I don't know what Bezos is like as a person, but I guess he's not an attention hog (unlike some Apple/Pixar execs) and he doesn't mind quietly working in the background while his competitor (Burt) steals all the limelight and wins public adulation. One good thing for sure, if Bezos gets his bird airborne, the competition might force Virgin Galactic to lower their $190,000 ticket price :)

  • Whem I'm rich I'm gonna build the Space Elevator. What's gonna be fun is that it won't be built in America! pwned.

    I'm selling shares now.
  • 'When deep space exploration ramps up, it will be corporations that name everything: The IBM Stellar Sphere. The Microsoft Galaxy. Planet Starbucks.'

    The Amazon Commercial Suborbital Spaceship?

  • by Capt. Dick Jackman ( 806898 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @05:20AM (#11359675)
    Building a stupid little ship to put a couple of rich people into suborbit for a few minutes gets us no where in the grand scheme of things. I'm rather dumbfounded as to why none of these guys are trying to bankroll a space elevator. That's when you can do some serious space stuff and become richer than Bill. I've read various places that it could be done in the very near future for as little as $10 billion. When I read that someone isn't dicking around with suborbital vehicles and is behind this, I'll get excited. Otherwise, all this has already been done for the past 60 years.
    • The space elevator is a nice idea, and a very efficient method for getting off the planet, but you have to realize that in today's age of terrorism, it's a sitting duck. Offhand, I can think of two SF novels (Gregory Benford's "Across the Sea of Suns" and Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue Mars" series) that show how easy it can be to take out a space elevator. And what a bitch it would be to repair the thing. If I were an investor, I would hedge my bets by putting money into small, scatter
      • If we wait for terrorism to go away, we'll never do it. I've also read from the main guy thinking about the problems, that it would be easy to fix once the whole operation is up and running. He was thinking more in the way of hurricanes, etc. I believe the article is in Scientific American and the guy worked for some part of NASA.
    • Well if I were an investor looking to get into one of these means of getting into space say a $150 million price tag versus a $10 billion one is what would make the traditional approach to getting into space the safer bet.

      With that said I agree with you that a space elevator is something that's worth getting excited about though with so many governments doing as well as they are with fairly large coffers why don't they bankroll a project of that magnitude?
    • If you're going to buy into something that's never been done, as a good business person, you have to take steps to mitigate the risks. Jeff Bezos can get some lawyers and insurance people who know basically what the risks are in shooting something up in more-or-less the same old way. What will those same people tell him about an elevator? What sort of premium does he pay on that? Leave that alone -- What sort of problems would you have just getting it set up in the necessary equatorial spot?

      An elevator st

  • Bezos, know - nay, renound - for founding and making a success of Amazon, one of the few successes of the dot com era, and described as "the largest bookstore in the world".

    A success, that is, in selling dead trees in what was supposed to be the age of the birth of the "paperless office". And that over the 'net.

    Now I'm all for books. I love books. But Amazon being a success is like Edison being a success selling better gas lamps.

    And now this dude, of all people, wants to lead us into [the terrible sec
  • Has April come early this year?
  • Why does everyone have to start their own space thing? Space travel is freaking expensive -- Jeff would be smarter to partner with virgin galactic, so that they could potentially "get there" 2x as fast with 2x as much money + no impedance from the gov't like NASA runs into.
    • Probably the same reason as every other independent company/person. They don't want to have to answer to anyone. Sure, they still have to follow any laws, and presumably the wishes of the major investor(s). But they don't have to be bogged down by middle management, million dollar concept studies... so in essence, they can avoid impedance from the corporate culture.
    • Because Jeff thinks that his approach (VTVL) will be better than Rutan's winged carry. Time and the market will show which is better in the long run.

      Besides, money really isn't a constraining factor here -- both Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are only putting a tiny fraction of their available funds into the endeavor.
  • Wannabees (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigTom ( 38321 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @07:45AM (#11360255) Homepage
    Talk is cheap, websites are cheap, real estate (in West Texas) is pretty cheap.

    Until they start bending tin and launching things they are just another bunch of wannabees.

    Nothing To See Here (yet).
  • Dear Astronauts,

    from now on we are shipping to extraterrestial addresses. For example,

    Star Wars Special Edition DVD: $20

    Shipping options:

    1) Soyuz - $50.000 (may get cancelled without prior notice if the Russian Space Agency runs out of money)

    2) US Space Shuttle - $150.000 (only with insurance!)

    3) Personal delivery by Jeff Bezos in bunny suit - $200.000

    If you are living close to an asteroid field, please add a fee of $50.000.

  • going to something useful instead of just stock options and big houses for CEOs. If youre going to waste money anyway why not do it with something both cool and scientifically useful.
  • You know, he's just doing it to patent independant space travel.
  • ...with suborbital flights????

    Eh. Whatever. Where do I send my resume?

  • Why west Texas? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rotenberry ( 3487 )
    Why choose a site just west of three of the ten most populous cities in the United States?

    From Wikipedia:
    "Cape Canaveral was chosen for rocket launches to take advantage of the earth's rotation. At the equator, the centrifugal force of earth's rotation is the maximum. The direction of earth's rotation is such that to take advantage of the rotation, rockets should be launched eastward. It is also highly desirable to have the downrange area sparsely populated, ideally an ocean, in case of accidents. Thus roc
  • Van Horn, TX is also the home to John Madden's [chuysrestaurant.com] Haul of Fame at Chuy's Mexican Restaurant [chuysrestaurant.com]. Madden always hated to fly, so when he became a broadcaster, he drove to games in his Maddencruiser [nwsource.com], hense the Haul of Fame.
  • Neal Stephenson works for Blue Origin as a consultant. Reference here [well.com].
  • by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:29PM (#11364762) Journal
    Here's my submission, which has some more information:

    After years of secrecy [slashdot.org] and much speculation [google.com], Blue Origin [blueorigin.com] has finally announced [msn.com] its plans [vanhornadvocate.com] to build and operate a privately-funded aerospace testing and operations center in West Texas [wikipedia.org]. The company [wikipedia.org], run by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos [ninemsn.com.au], is "currently developing a sub-orbital space vehicle that will take off and land vertically to take three or more astronauts to the edge of space." Flight operations could begin as soon as six years from now. Hopefully this will be a significant step towards Bezos's dream [msn.com] of enabling "an enduring human presence in space."

"Be there. Aloha." -- Steve McGarret, _Hawaii Five-Oh_

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