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Space

Blue Origin Launches Its First test Flight of 2018 (mashable.com) 57

After several delays on Sunday morning, a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket blasted off from the west Texas desert just after noon Central Daylight Time, sending a crew capsule carrying a dummy named "Mannequin Skywalker" on a brief trip to space. For the eighth time, Jeff Bezos' commercial space company successfully tested the system it hopes to use to send paying passengers on suborbital flights in the coming months. From a report: The rocket reached a maximum altitude of 350,000 feet during the test flight, which took roughly 10 minutes from liftoff to the rocket and capsule touchdowns. This test marks the first test flight of the New Shepard system in 2018. The launch of the capsule and rocket was the eighth overall test flight of New Shepard, and the second time this rocket and capsule have flown to suborbital space together. The capsule also carried "Mannequin Skywalker," the test dummy outfitted with sensors used by Blue Origin to give flight engineers a sense of what a person might experience during a flight to space aboard the New Shepard.

Eventually, Bezos hopes that New Shepard will take paying customers up about 100 kilometers into the air, where they will experience weightlessness and be able to see the Earth against the blackness of space before the capsule falls back to the ground under parachutes. But Bezos' ambition stretches far beyond sending tourists to suborbital space. Blue Origin also has plans to build larger rockets that will be able to send big payloads and crews of people to orbit and beyond.

Blue Origin Launches Its First test Flight of 2018

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  • 2 choices to see space close to Earth:

    1) View high-definition videos of space travel, safely in your home.

    2) Go into near outer space with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's company Blue Origin, and possibly die if there is an accident or technical deficiency.

    Is Jeff Bezos careful to be logical? It seems to me the answer is no, if you judge by looking at the messy, sloppy Amazon web pages that distract you by trying to sell you other things when you are researching a product.

    Blue Origin does not now have t
    • Judging by the language it looks like Virgin Galactic is outsourcing their online trolls.
    • Is Jeff Bezos careful to be logical? It seems to me the answer is no, if you judge by how Amazon is managed. More evidence, added to the evidence in the parent comment:

      A Slashdot comment [slashdot.org]: "you still can't sort prime-only items by price correctly (it includes the lowest priced non-prime seller)..."

      And: "... Amazon literally still builds their rich pages using their normal grid layout, and in the most impossible to navigate way possible.

      Amazon: Amazon warehouse jobs push workers to ph [seattletimes.com]
  • Ya.. that's what it looks like :/
  • Thatâ(TM)s when you crash probes into Mars, instead on gently inserting them into orbit. 350.000 feet = 100 kilometers.
    • The webcast, being aimed primarily at a US audience, used exclusively Imperial units (feet altitude, miles per hour speed), save for one mention of the Karman line, which was defined (accurately) as 100km.

      I am sure the entire engineering and operations team worked in SI, but the stuff the public was shown was not.

    • Actually, let's be honest here: Don't Use Metric. Those Europeans landers have had some real problems. Meanwhile, the ones from the US seem to land just fine. But as soon as the US added a little bit of the metric system to a probe? Whammo!

      Y'see, when those units are so easy to convert, you start making mistakes. When you know it's tough, you check things out more thoroughly.

      (And, yes, I'm being facetious for those of you who are missing it...)

      • You really think a US lander is internally programmed in imperial units?
        Why would anyone be so brain dead to attempt that?

        • Well, again, I'm being facetious [dictionary.com]. So don't take it too seriously. And, yes, I'm aware that NASA uses metric measurements and the crash of the Mars Climate Orbiter was that a piece of hardware was generating non-metric measurements when NASA expected measurements in metric. The joke is that the US, which I am incorrectly stating is using non-metric units because they do so everywhere else, manages to land on Mars while the Europeans and Russians, which use metric units, can not.

          That said, I'm not sure it'

          • Well, pointing out that landing on Mars is hard, is not really a joke.

            http://www.russianspaceweb.com... [russianspaceweb.com]

            Most to of the attempts failed on earth or in earth orbit. The only european project that failed was the UK Beagle landing. The main goal of the mission is/was the orbiter.

            I guess the problem (at Mars, not in Earth orbit) is meteorology. Air pressure has probably a much wider swing range than "scientists" think. So the difference between landing in a near vacuum, and using parachutes for "predetermined X s

      • Actually, let's be honest here: Don't Use Metric.

        And while we're at it, let's define "space" to be 100 miles up, not 100 kilometers. If we're going to be arbitrary, let's be AMERICAN arbitrary! USA! USA!

  • From WikiPedia [wikipedia.org]:

    Gravitational acceleration at the Kármán line, the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and outer space which lies at an altitude of 100 km, is only about 3% lower than at sea level.

    If I weigh 100kg (ok, 100lb, this is /.) then I would weigh 97 at 100km. The majority of the 'weightlessness' is just free-fall; sort of a massive erect vomit-comet [wikipedia.org]. :)

    • > sort of a massive erect vomit-comet.
      So, these customers are paying for the privilege of vomiting in space?

    • True, but no different than being in microgravity during orbit. This is also due to being in free-fall.

      • True, but no different than being in microgravity during orbit. This is also due to being in free-fall.

        [We could be talking about different things here... but I've typed it up so out it goes...]

        Not quite... During orbit you have the orbital velocity to create the centripetal force to constantly counter the fall (aka orbit). This rocket is just strait up & down. This certainly makes re-entry simple as you don't have to deal with the orbital deceleration energies (ablation / retros) but you'll never attain orbit or leave this planet for more than a few minutes with "this" setup. With this you do get t

        • That said, I do salute them and the setup will almost certainly evolve

          You don't "evolve" from non-orbital to orbital. It's a complete redesign.

          Frankly, I'm surprised that they are still putting so much effort in non-orbital test flights.

        • by torkus ( 1133985 )

          And your comment also clearly puts in perspective the vast differences between what they're doing and what SpaceX is doing. The energy requirements to simply go up and fall back down are significantly smaller (and thus much simpler engineering) than to attain orbital velocity as well.

          Most people mistake rockets are going 'up' when the majority of their energy is actually going 'over' (well, accelerating tangent to the surface of the earth). This is why things like the giant plane for Virgin Galactic are l

    • Though their platform overall is far better than the scales composites one, which will never fly above 100km. This launcher could be extended to fly to orbit.

  • The Mile High Club [wikipedia.org] has a new goal; perhaps the Kármán Club? How long do you have weightlessness in the Blue Origin (aptly named colour)? I'd only need a minute or two...

    • The microgravity (aka free fall) time is 4 minutes, so about two minutes to the peak above the Kármán line.

    • But going "solo" doesn't count. The clubs only admit those who participated with partners.

      Maybe Blue Origin, or Virgin Galactic can offer special "couples" accommodations.

If you hype something and it succeeds, you're a genius -- it wasn't a hype. If you hype it and it fails, then it was just a hype. -- Neil Bogart

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