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Blue Origin Launches and Lands the Same New Shepard That Few In November ( 132

MarkWhittington writes: The commercial space race between Blue Origin and SpaceX got more interesting on Friday. In November, Blue Origin launched its New Shepard booster on a suborbital flight, and then successfully landed it afterward. On Friday, Blue Origin relaunched the same New Shepard spacecraft to a height of 101.7 kilometers, and then landed it a second time. Blue Origin has therefore accomplished a first by flying a vertical takeoff and landing rocket into space twice in a row. The company has taken another step toward its goal of taking the rich and adventurous on suborbital jaunts for fun and profit.
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Blue Origin Launches and Lands the Same New Shepard That Few In November

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  • Ummmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by click2005 ( 921437 ) * on Saturday January 23, 2016 @12:20PM (#51357049)

    'Few in November'? lol

    • Re:Ummmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @02:11PM (#51357417)

      Slashdot has turned from a labor of love (when we had good, topical stories that even had some background research now and then) to a cash cow and ad mouthpiece (when it was turned over to dice and we started playing the "spot the astroturf ad article du jour" game) to the current "we don't even give half a shit anymore" situation.

      Seriously. Be honest. Does anyone read the stories anymore before they get frontpaged? I get that suspicious feeling that if I could get a few /. trolls together we could easily get a Lorem Ipsum on the frontpage.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The people that used to come here in droves are still around. Someone should start a new /. with better quality control etc. That's what wrecked it for me and caused me come here rarely when before it was multiple times a day.

        • by caseih ( 160668 )

          What do you think of soylent news? When they started they billed themselves as continuing the ideal of what Slashdot used to be. Personally I don't find the stories and comments to be all that great on soylent. Slashdot still wins by a very small amount in my opinion.

      • I started reading slashdot in '99. I can't recall a time when the editors ever appeared to read summaries before posting them. And before Dice and startswithabang, it was ohnoitsroland. All along people have been insisting that slashdot used to be great back in the day but the standards are gone. I don't believe there ever were standards. Take it or leave it. I still enjoy it.

  • holy crap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @12:21PM (#51357051)
    Timothy. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Spelling isn't that hard. It reflects really poorly on this site when the editors can't spell. This happened on the article just before this too.
  • I just can't ignore the errors anymore. This is just stupidly bad.
    • Spotting spelling errors and punctuation mistakes is a very useful trait for professional programmers, as it speeds up debugging.
  • Blu Origins lunches and landz teh sam new chepard that phew in novemberer.


    • I could believe it if it was a SpaceX press release: I get so many emails from PayPal saying "Dear Mr spamtrap49 your accounting was using for suspicious transaction, and has be suspended. Please clicking here to conform your detail" that its clear Elon Musk can't spell. Yet the emails from Amazon telling me that I might be interested in books similar to the one I bought for my mum's birthday 5 years ago all seemed to be written in perfect English...

  • No comparison (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23, 2016 @12:34PM (#51357107)

    How can anyone compare Blue Origin and SpaceX in the same paragraph while still mentioning that Blue Origin flights are sub-orbital? There's really little basis for comparison at that point between Blue Origin and SpaceX and more comparison between Blue Origin and Scaled Composites. Of course Scaled Composites *already* flew multiple sub-orbital flights with SpaceShipOne - who cares that it wasn't a vertical take-off and landing - it's *still* more comparable.

    • by AJWM ( 19027 )

      SpaceShipOne isn't single stage, it needs a lift. In that arena, the X-15 takes priority. (Several X-15 flights earned their pilots astronaut wings.)

    • Same thing with the first American in space. Also just a sub-orbital flight.

    • In their defense it got higher than Alan Shepard got when he became the first American in space
  • Grue Orange Haunches and Hands the lame few leopard that true in lavender?

  • Altitude only first (Score:5, Informative)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @12:56PM (#51357187) Homepage

    The "first" here is that New Shepard made it to the altitude arbitrarily defined as "space". The first launch and landing of a VTOL rocket that had previously flown was back in September of 1993 with DC-X's second flight (first was 8/18/93). Sure, it only went up a few hundred feet ... then stopped dead, hovered, translated sideways another couple of hundred feet, then landed. (I was present for that one. Frickin' awesome!) It flew yet again less than three weeks later.

    On June 7 and 8 of 1996, it flew twice within 26 hours. That second flight reached an altitude of 10,300 feet (its record). Nowhere near space, but the DC-X program was more about the control software and reusability than going for altitude (it was a one-third scale prototype of the proposed Delta Clipper). And they were doing it with what is now over twenty year old technology. (Actually older, the thrusters were modified RL-10s from the 60s, much of the flight control avionics was off-the-shelf units that McDonnell-Douglas used in its jet aircraft.)

    So, kudos to Blue Origin for reaching the edge of space with a previously-used rocket (something nobody else has done with the arguable exception of Shuttle, which was really never the same twice). But let's put the "first" emphasis where it belongs. (And it is significant -- it doesn't really matter how many times you can re-use a rocket if it won't get you to space in the first place.)

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      So, kudos to Blue Origin for reaching the edge of space with a previously-used rocket (something nobody else has done with the arguable exception of Shuttle, which was really never the same twice).

      Actually Scaled Composites performed the same feat over 10 years ago, don't you remember the X-Prize []? They use different launch and landing methods, but right now Blue Origin is at the same point that Scaled Composites were back in 2004.

      • by AJWM ( 19027 )

        As I mentioned in another post, the Scaled Composites achievement was first accomplished by the X-15 back when. SpaceShipOne didn't make it to space entirely under its own power, it had a lift from a carrier aircraft, just like X-15.

        Cool yes, but not what Blue Origin did.

  • Space Race! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @01:01PM (#51357209) Journal
    Hopefully, this leads to a bit of a space race.

    However, to be fair, SpaceX is a LONG LONG ways ahead of everybody. They already have an orbital craft. They are able to land their first stage. They will likely re-use it in production sometime next year.
    FH will launch in April.
    Dragon v2 for human launches, will be end of year.
    Raptor is supposed to be finished and fully tested around early 2017.
    And that is on-top of MCT being developed.

    OTOH, ULA, Airbus, O-ATK, Russia, etc will feel the heat shortly.
  • Cut the blog spam (Score:4, Informative)

    by arielCo ( 995647 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @01:09PM (#51357237)
  • I'm assuming that any rocket which lands vertically must carry twice the fuel to achieve a given altitude: one dose to accelerate to the altitude and a second dose to decelerate back to zero. This is in contrast to a space plane design like the Space Shuttle which dissipated the deceleration energy as heat and radiation. So, a vertically landing rocket would have to be much larger than its space-plane equivalent to carry the same payload to the same altitude.

    Presumably, this would counteract some of the e

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Honestly, you got it almost completely wrong - you don't need to scale the engine at all (you rather lose some payload to orbit) - and the fuel you need to lift the rocket (full, heavy) is magnitudes higher than you need to land it back again - SpaceX uses 9 engines on the Falcon 9, and has "engine-out" capability, where one (or even two, if the right ones fail) engine can get inoperative and the rocket will compensate with a slightly longer burn to still achieve orbit. For doing so, you have to take the fu

      • Mostly true, but every kg that is needed to land, needs about many times as much for it to get lifted off in the first place. This is why it gets increasingly difficult to do the same for the second and third stage. (And a 'completely reusable rocket' is what Musk said he wants).

        This is not about the cost of the fuel, which is only a minor part of the costs, but, as you correctly point out, a loss of capacity for the maximum payload. To propel 1 pound of mass would require 9.39 pounds of propellant. This me

    • It's not twice the fuel. It takes most of the fuel to get to speed. At that point the booster is SIGNIFICANTLY lighter, so it takes (again with that word) SIGNIFICANTLY LESS fuel to slow down, and then to land.
      • It's not twice the fuel. It takes most of the fuel to get to speed. At that point the booster is SIGNIFICANTLY lighter, so it takes (again with that word) SIGNIFICANTLY LESS fuel to slow down, and then to land.


        However, you still have to remember that most of the fuel is used to lift the weight of the fuel.

        Take the weight of the fuel required for the landing (plus the weight of the part of the rocket that contains that fuel that had to be added).

        Now figure out how much additional fuel will be required to lift that. How much will the additional fuel (and additional rocket weight to contain the additional fuel) weigh? How much additional fuel will be required for that? And so on? And so on? It adds up.

      • by Megane ( 129182 )
        Even more so when you *cough* launch an actual second stage to orbit *cough*.
    • My response, which is also relevant to what you say: []

    • The economics depends on what is cheaper, the fuel or the space plane. Currently the fuel is cheaper, so the Space Shuttle cost more than the Saturn 5.
      • Sigh. No, it's not.

        I don't know why so few people grasp this.

        It's NOT about the cost of the fuel itself; that's only a minor part. What IS of importance, is, that any additional fuel for landing means additional weight, which cuts back on the maximum amount of payload you can get up in a given orbit.

        The spaceshuttle was extremely complex and needed far more maintenance than expected, and THAT was the reason it wasn't economically viable. If your refurbishing costs are about as much as building a new one, th

  • I said this before with the SpaceX story not long ago (and got some pretty nasty responses by fanboys), but the question remains whether IN THE SHORT RUN and *only comparing the current whole-1ste-booster stage return versus partial systems* like Adeline ( [] ) or that of the ULA don't make more *economic* sense.

    Do note the domain where I'm talking about (capital letters/ asterix). I'm NOT comparing a "rocket that is like an airplane" (costwise) with a one-time usable rocket.


    • Falcon 9 is actually just a two stage rocket, so the second stage ends up in orbit. Recovering it would mean using fuel to deorbit and having a heat shield capable of withstanding reentry. Even just recovering the engine would be a pretty major operation.

      If you wanted to avoid wasting this element then lifting it a little higher into a stable orbit (perhaps via an ion drive tug) and then making use of it for something there would make more sense.

      • Mayhaps. But after a while, when 10, 20, 100 stages are up there, what would you use it for? I'm not certain there is such a big market for booster parts. Not on themselves. And if you put a payload them, it just gets more expensive and heavy.

        Anyway, I don't think you can keep the current method (burning of fuel by engines) and still be economical viable in the long run, compared to alternative systems.

        Even if - in fact, especially when- we're talking about the second stage, there is need for such an altern

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @07:45PM (#51358777) Journal
    Space X landed a 55000 lb LEO payload capable rocket vertically once

    Blue origin landed a suborbital rocket twice!

    Slashdot thinks Flew and Few are one and the same.

  • Fix the fucking glaring typo, you barrel of twats. And while you're at it, fix the mobile bug where I get told I have 5 moderator points which expire 5 days ago. And why am I never logged in automatically like on other sites? To look at it, you'd think this was someone's first site circa 1995.

  • November 2015: "Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts—a used rocket,” said Jeff Bezos.
    December 2015: Elon to Jeff: "Mine is bigger than yours"
    January 2016: Jeff to Elon: "I can get mine up again, can you?"

Air is water with holes in it.