Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

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#1 Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by bernomatic » Fri, 17 Jun 16, 16:35 pm

Watch the fourth flight of the same New Shepard hardware this Sunday. Liftoff is planned for approximately 10:15 am ET and the live webcast starts half an hour earlier at 9:45 am ET at http://www.blueorigin.com.

On this flight, we’ll intentionally fail one string of parachutes on the capsule. There are three strings of chutes and two of the three should still deploy nominally and, along with our retrothrust system, safely land the capsule. Works on paper, and this test is designed to validate that. We’ll also use this flight to continue pushing the envelope on the booster.

As always, this is a development test flight and anything can happen.

Watching a rocket launch (and rocket landing!) might add a little extra fun with the kids on Father’s Day -- enjoy.

Gradatim Ferociter!

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Maybe their rockets aren't as big as the other guys yet, but they're getting launches sooner. Kind of reminds me of being at a club launch where I launch three or four model rockets while the big boys are prepping one.

Of course any PLANNED failure is usually boring, but it should be interesting.
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#3 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by luke strawwalker » Sat, 18 Jun 16, 02:26 am

Rocket Babe wrote:Looks... interesting.
That's one word for it...

I was gonna say it looks like a sex toy... LOL:)

Instead it's a toy for joyrides for rich people wanting 4 minutes or so of weightlessness... Meh...

I don't get excited about that sort of thing... SpaceX is actually doing things IN SPACE, ie, IN ORBIT, and bringing their first stage back.

If Bezos ever builds something like Falcon 9, I'll be excited about their endeavors as well... til then, not so much...

Later! OL J R :)
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#4 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by Commander » Sat, 18 Jun 16, 12:51 pm

Well, if you two can get your minds out of the gutter :lol: :roll:

Luke, your looking at this in all the wrong ways. You see, Blue Origin is the ideal capitalist concept of redistributing wealth. :o Instead of holding a gun to the wealthy and threatening prison to get their money (ala the government and taxes), offer them some joy ride at exorbitant prices so they end up funding development of your future successes. In the meantime they are are building practical experience of both equipment and personnel. B.O.'s next generation is already in testing. The B.E. 4 is a LNG + LOX engine capable of 550,000 pounds of thrust to be used in their two stage orbital platform, along with the B.E. 3 currently in use on the New Shepherd. Testing is currently ongoing and the BE-4 is expected to be flight ready in 2017.

B.O. has only just recently been added to NASA's Private contractors for sub-orbital flight services. Which means that they are working on more than just the joy rides. http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacet ... index.html Of course when you start sleeping with the devil, you're going to have to expect some stipulations. I think Blue Origins, by building their own launch facilities and looking for their own private funding were more autonomous than Space-X and were therefore more capable of looking outside current constraints. We will have to see how climbing into bed with the devil works for them.

All of this with a minimal drain on the taxpayer and an eye to making money from space is a true capitalist dream.
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#5 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by luke strawwalker » Sat, 18 Jun 16, 17:36 pm

Oh, I agree... I just don't get too excited about "suborbital". Yeah, I know they do a lot of good work there, with sounding rockets and all that, and suborbital flight predates orbital flight by a considerable amount of time. I know that BO is working on more than just the (IMHO) stupid "tourist" aspect of it. (Which considering what's happened in the decade(~ish~) since Scaled Composites "opened a new age in spaceflight" by winning the X-Prize with the SpaceShipOne (which is to say, LOTS more talk and VERY little action-- other than a few test flights of SS2 and a fatal crash, you don't hear hardly anything about it anymore), it basically verifies my impression of the entire "suborbital tourist" thing-- the "demand" is a mile wide-- but only an inch deep. IOW, there'll surely be a handful of "uber-rich" who'll sign up for the trips (and have by all accounts) but most people with the money to go will decide that snorting coke off a harem of hotties asses on some luxury yacht in Monaco or the French Riviera for a month is a MUCH better use of the money than 4 minutes of weightlessness... ESPECIALLY *WHEN* (not IF) one of the "tourist" suborbital flights pancakes into the floor of the Mohave (or elsewhere) at 250 mph... I agree, let the uber-rich finance the dreams of spaceflight and development-- after all, looking at both Blue Origin AND SpaceX, they've done more in a decade to advance the "state of the art" in spaceflight than NASA has done on the gubmint dole in the last 35 years. Because we ALL know how "efficient" the shuttle was, and how cutting edge it was (for 1974... about the only thing the shuttle was "efficient" at was burning through a billion bucks of taxpayer money a flight-- continuing to build and fly Saturn V's would have been cheaper and given at least 6X the payload capability on EVERY flight). NASA and gubmint are static, and the "big aerospace" contractors are SO addicted to gubmint contract handouts that they have NO motivation to "innovate" the way SpaceX and Blue Origin have. I'm glad they've "made it", because the decade of the 90's is littered with the bones of various space startup enterprises that were "strangled the cradle" by gubmint and big aerospace doing everything they could to keep them from succeeding (and of course the advancement of technology has certainly played a big part as well).

I'm thrilled Blue Origin has their contract to develop the BE-4 with Air Force money, so they can FINALLY replace the Russian RD-180's on Atlas V. That was a decision that made a certain amount of sense when they did it back in the 90's (when we were trying to keep the Russian space scientists from being thrown out of work and going and building advanced missiles for the "Axis of Evil" in North Korea and Iran) and the best technology in liquid propulsion in the world was available at bargain-basement prices, and when we were eager to help our new 'friend' Russia, but that was over 20 years ago. Times change. I said back when Russia first started getting 'adventurous' and made their little foray (invasion) of Georgia that the US was skating on thin ice by continuing to rely on Russian rocket engines for our main national security launch vehicle (the EELV Atlas V). We risked being "held hostage" by Russia, or having that source threatened as "leverage" against our opposition to their increasingly boisterous ambitions at "Russian resurgence" when we disapproved of their actions. Sure, they held enough engines in reserve to continue launches in the event the Russians cut the supply off, at least until *theoretically* the US could build copies of the Russian engines, but still... I'm SO glad that the idiots in Washington have *FINALLY* "seen the light" on that issue and decided to spend OUR TAX MONEY, not by exporting it to an increasingly hostile and belligerent Russia to support THEIR space and missile programs (which have ALWAYS been inextricably linked) but instead by spending it with AMERICAN companies like Blue Origin, to build ORIGINAL advanced new engine designs, rather than paying the fatcat "old space" aerospace contractors like Pratt and Whitney/Rocketdyne to build CLONES of the Russian engine design. Not that the Russian designs are BAD; far from it-- the Russians invested more in advanced engine development than we ever thought about, and it shows... It's just nice that we're FINALLY deciding to play "catch up" with the Russian advances in liquid propellant engine design and funding it RIGHT HERE AT HOME rather than abroad. Hopefully THIS time they actually fund something to COMPLETION and PRODUCTION, rather than just design, development, testing, and then MOTHBALLING like they've done with so many engine development projects I can't count anymore (but TR-107, RS-84, FASTRAC, STME, J-2X, etc.) BE-4 should be a TERRIFIC first-stage engine for a vehicle in the Falcon 9/EELV/Saturn IB class. If we had had a 500,000 lbs/thrust engine (like the E-1's, which were canceled when F-1 was developed) they could have turned Saturn IB (or a new single-tank stage core vehicle) into a much more capable rocket at lower cost by eliminating the large cluster of 8 H-1 engines in favor of 4 E-1's. BE-4 gives a similar capability to build a vehicle similar in capabilities to Falcon 9, but using a cluster of 4-5 BE-4 engines rather than 9 of the Merlins. (Of course this might present some special issues for a propulsive landing of such a rocket first stage ala Falcon 9, but nothing that can't be overcome... Falcon 9 uses 3 (IIRC) engines for its "reentry burn" to slow down and then the single center engine for the actual "hover to landing" engine... a four engine cluster in a Y configuration, while not as efficient from an engine arrangement standpoint, would still allow for a single-engine descent and landing... as would five engines in an "X" arrangement).

Having a reusable "sounding rocket" is a good thing... it makes the cost of suborbital payloads considerably less than that from expendable sounding rockets, as well as (perhaps) faster turn-around times for successive payloads, as well as returning the instruments in the payload intact (like telescopes, etc). This should allow a lot of payloads to fly that couldn't get sufficient funding before, as well as allow more (numerically and more rapid or frequent) observations by sophisticated instrument payloads (like telescopes) flown suborbitally on reusable vehicles since those payloads can return 'intact" and ready to fly again, rather than being "expended" after a single mission.

Hopefully BE-4 and Blue Origin will develop their own reusable first-stage orbital vehicle similar to Falcon 9... competition is a good thing. It's also good that BO has "broken new ground" by using methane as their propellant of choice-- kerosene has its advantages, but methane is also a good first stage propellant that has heretofore not been used in an "operational" system engine. Plus, it's not too difficult to modify an engine running on methane (LNG) to run on heavier "low cryogenic propellants" like propane or butane (LPG) which is somewhat easier to store and handle than LNG. Of course LNG is now being shipped commercially in specially designed supertankers, so most of the handling difficulties are probably a moot point now anyway... plus, it's a good match with LO2 as an oxidizer since their temperatures are closer together than LH2 or kerosene.

Interesting to be sure...

later! OL J R :)
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#6 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by luke strawwalker » Sat, 18 Jun 16, 22:08 pm

Plus, methane engines are going to be a necessity if we ever plan to have any sort of "Mars infrastructure" beyond some "flags n footprints" type missions. Read "The Case for Mars" by Robert Zubrin on that count.

Methane propellant is easily producible on the Mars surface using hydrogen brought from Earth and the Mars atmosphere as a feedstock, which is readily obtainable anywhere on the planet's surface. If a source of water is available or is tapped on the surface of Mars, hydrogen from Earth is not even necessary... Hydrogen and oxygen can be produced from electrolysis of Martian water using solar or nuclear power to provide the electricity (solar on Mars is more difficult because basically 2X the amount of solar cells are required to generate the same amount of electricity on Mars than would be required to generate the same amount of electricity on Earth, due to Mars' greater distance from the Sun... for that reason IMHO nuclear power is going to be necessary for a Mars mission to keep the landed mass requirements manageable, at least in the short term). Oxygen can be used as the rocket fuel or to sustain a base's breathing air, (or both) and hydrogen cracked from water can then be used in the Sabatier process, combined chemically in a reactor with carbon dioxide from the Mars atmosphere to produce methane rocket fuel, which is MUCH easier to store in a liquid state on the surface of Mars than hydrogen would be.

NASA knows this as well, which is why the original Orion Service Module engine was slated to use methane/LO2 for propellants. They were squeezing in the development of a suitable Mars Vehicle Ascent Engine into the development of the SM, sort of a "two for one" deal... Plus, it's really no harder to store liquid methane propellant for long periods than it is to store liquid oxygen propellant for long periods in space. (Both are technologies that will have to be perfected, however, in the form of low-boiloff technologies, and possibly cryogenic propellant transfer technologies, neither of which actually exist currently, but which will likely prove necessary for a Mars mission). The low-boiloff storage and transfer of liquid hydrogen, on the other hand, is a much more daunting problem, ESPECIALLY when submerged in even a minimal atmosphere like Mars'...

Of course the methane SM engine was one of the first things cut from Constellation; basically it was gone before the ink was dry on the program authorization... (along with the Prometheus nuclear power program).

Later! OL J R :)
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#7 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by Commander » Sun, 19 Jun 16, 00:26 am

While that is a lot of forward thinking for the methane engine, Blue Origin is looking to it more in the ease of reusuability aspect. The methane does not leave the deposits that kerosene does and would therefore make repeat uses of the engine much easier.
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#8 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by Ghrocketman » Sun, 19 Jun 16, 04:08 am

I dont get excited about any space flight that has been done by NASA more than 46 F'n years ago !!!!
When any agency (private or gov't) lands a HUMAN on the MOON again or farther, I will be excited amd intrigued. Until then, it is "Been there, done that".
Do something NEW and exciting. the space program has been a fargin' joke since the last lunar landing of '72.
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#9 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by bernomatic » Sun, 19 Jun 16, 22:50 pm

In keeping with Blue Origin's space theme-park missions, What I would rather see them do than start teaming up with the government and become ensnared in that malaise, is to continue offering to the average (if rich) Joe, additional "thrills". In my opinion, the easiest thing to do would be to develop some sort of orbiting hotel using the expendable second stage boosters of the next gen rocket.

So what you're saying GH, "I dont get excited about any space flight that has been done by NASA more than 46 F'n years ago !!!!" is that if I bought you a seat on one of the New Shepherd flights, you wouldn't take a ride because Alan Shepherd did it 55 years ago?
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#10 Re: Watch fourth launch of same gear Sunday

Post by Commander » Mon, 20 Jun 16, 01:25 am

Ghrocketman wrote:I dont get excited about any space flight that has been done by NASA more than 46 F'n years ago !!!!
When any agency (private or gov't) lands a HUMAN on the MOON again or farther, I will be excited amd intrigued. Until then, it is "Been there, done that".
Do something NEW and exciting. the space program has been a fargin' joke since the last lunar landing of '72.
As soon as NASA vertically recovers and reuses one of it's boosters, I'll agree with you. I will partially agree with your statement that the NASA space program has been a joke since '72, but only in so far as the manned deep space program is concerned.
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