Blue Origin: Quiet Plans for Spaceships

Blue Origin: Quiet Plans for Spaceships
This artist’s illustration of the orbital crew-carrying spaceship planned by the private company Blue Origin was included in the firm’s NASA Space Act agreement to continue its work on a commercial crew space vehicle.Blue Origin is a company best known for being the first in the world to successfully land a reusable rocket on a landing pad.The company plans to take space tourists aloft using a reusable suborbital rocket called New Shepard, and also to target orbital flights using a new rocket under development called New Glenn.The firm has funding from customers as well as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.Previously, NASA provided Blue Origin with more than million in contracts (payment was based upon milestones completed) for the Commercial Crew Development program, which is working to develop privately funded space vehicles to bring people to the International Space Station.Ultimately, however, NASA chose to support SpaceX’s Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft for the flights.Blue Origin is known in the space industry for not releasing much information about its flights and aspirations ahead of time, unlike companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.Blue Origin was registered as a company in 2000, and first made it into public attention in 2006 after Bezos made a series of land purchases in Texas.According to the Wall Street Journal, these purchases were made under names such as “James Cook L.P.,” “Jolliet Holdings,” “Coronado Ventures,” and “Cabot Enterprises,” which all traced back to the same address.The corporate names, incidentally, all were based on famous explorers.In January 2007, according to MSNBC, Blue Origin’s website opened for business, featuring videos and photos from such milestones such as a November 2006 test flight.Blue Origin received two rounds of funding from NASA: .7million in 2010 for the first round of the Commercial Crew Program, and million for the second round in 2011.The company’s first major disclosed setback came in 2011, when a development vehicle failed at around 45,000 feet in altitude during a flight test.”A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle.Not the outcome any of us wanted, but we’re signed up for this to be hard,” wrote Bezos in a Sept.2, 2011, update to the company’s website.He added that the company was already working on another development vehicle.The next “short hop” took place in November that year.October 2012 saw tests of the crew capsule escape system; the company dubbed the event “a great day in Texas” on its website.The system soared to 2,307 feet (703 meters) before returning by parachute.”The progress Blue Origin has made on its suborbital and orbital capabilities really is encouraging for the overall future of human spaceflight,” NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Ed Mango said in a statement.”It was awesome to see a spacecraft NASA played a role in developing take flight.” However, as the Commerci

Blue Origin: Quiet Plans for Spaceships