An error occurred while updating the firmware time capsule

An error occurred while updating the firmware time capsule

Blue Origin, headed and funded by Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, is perhaps most famous for its supreme confidence, best illustrated by Bezos offhandedly welcoming Space X “to the club” after the company first recovered the booster stage of its Falcon 9 rocket in 2015.Blue Origin began in the early 2000s as a pet project of Bezos, a long-time fan of spaceflight and proponent of developing economies in space.Space X has half a decade of experience mass-producing orbital-class (reusable) rockets, (reusable) fairings, and propulsion systems, whereas Blue Origin at best has minimal experience manufacturing a handful of suborbital vehicles over a period of a few years.Blue has a respectable amount of experience with their BE-3 hydrolox propulsion system, and that will likely transfer over to the BE-3U vacuum variant to be used for New Glenn’s third stage.As a result of being completely privately funded, Bezos’ deep pockets could render Blue more flexible than Space X when pricing launches.

The only point at which Blue Origin poses a risk to Space X’s business can be found in a comparison of funding sources.Falcon 9’s larger mass and velocity translates into intense reentry heating and aerodynamic forces, best demonstrated by the glowing aluminum grid fins that can often be seen in Space X’s live coverage of booster recovery.Blue Origin’s New Glenn concept is extremely impressive on paper, but the company will have to pull off an extraordinary leap of technological maturation to move directly from suborbital single-stage hops to multi-stage orbital rocketry.The space tourism company has subtly and not-so-subtly belittled Space X’s accomplishments over the last several years, and has engendered a fair bit of hostility towards it as a result.Admittedly, CEO Elon Musk nurtured high expectations for the consequences of reuse, and has frequently discussed Space X’s ambition to reduce the cost of access to orbit by a factor of 10 to 100.

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Blue Origin’s second New Shepard vehicle, designed to serve the suborbital space tourism industry, conducted an impressive five successful launches and landings over the course of 2016 before being summarily retired.

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