Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blue Origin: Into Space in a Flying Gumdrop

"Secretive Space Vehicle Tested at Private Texas Site " (December 8, 2008)

That secretive rocket work being bankrolled by billionaire Jeff Bezos of fame has shed some new light on its activities.

"Blue Origin is developing New Shepard, a rocket-propelled vehicle that takes off and lands vertically and is designed to routinely fly multiple astronauts into suborbital space at competitive prices....

"...Blue Origin is now noting that, in addition to providing the public with opportunities to experience spaceflight, New Shepard will also provide...."

If Blue Origin looks familiar, you may be remembering the McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper. NASA's X-33 program went with Lockheed Martin's entry in the single-stage-to-orbit competition: one using an ambitious linear aerospike engine.

It's good to see the McDonnel Douglas 'Delta Clipper' approach being used again. As I recall, McDonnel Douglas' idea was to design a workhorse single stage vehicle that could take off, enter orbit, return, land, and then do it again. Sort of like the Shuttle, but without the external tank and boosters.

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