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Blue Origin successfully flies to edge of space and recovers booster


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Elon Musk may have been getting all the publicity about his attempts to land a Falcon 9 first stage (all of which have so far ended in close-but-kerboom) but that other dot-com billionaire Jeff Bezos seems to have beaten him to it in terms of soft-landing a booster that got into space:

Blue Origin First Successful Landing

This video released today is a mix of flight footage from yesterday and simulation, but it does show flight, separation of the capsule, parachute recovery of the capsule and vertical rocket landing of the booster itself. (Warning: very cheesy music, but I suppose if you've flown your own rocketship you get to choose the soundtrack.)

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Weee!!!!! :yahoo: That was fun ^_^ I wouldn't have wanted to be in the capsule at main chute deployment or touch-down though, as they seemed a bit rough & ready, but the booster coming back down like a falling stone and then hovering out to a gentle touch-down was superb! :clap2:

In answer to the last question, I do want to go to space please. :)

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Amazing! Where is the Blue Orgin kit now?

Well, since we're talking about Blue Origin it would be fitting that a kit would be announced AFTER it's done and not before.

Edited by NorLars
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Oh my, isn't that a ...suggestive shape. Is he compensating for something? All it lacks are Dr. Evil's two spherical fuel tanks.

And in fairness to Falcon 9, there's a massive difference between a purely ballistic track up and down and an orbital insertion trajectory. The velocities involved are nowhere near each other.

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Oh my, isn't that a ...suggestive shape. Is he compensating for something? All it lacks are Dr. Evil's two spherical fuel tanks.

And in fairness to Falcon 9, there's a massive difference between a purely ballistic track up and down and an orbital insertion trajectory. The velocities involved are nowhere near each other.

Yes, I found myself thinking Austin Powers too...

Elon Musk was on Twitter congratulating Bezos but also pointedly noting that getting to 100km straight up is very different from getting into orbit. That being said, the Falcon 1 first stage is going nowhere near orbital velocity at separation.

What's impressive is the landing accuracy. The booster came down close to, or nearly on top of, the cameras taking the landing footage.

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Not orbital velocity, no, but returning from 2 Km/s pointed Eastward is a lot different from 0 Km/s pointed straight up. I'd also like to see Blue Origin try to hit a barge instead of a stationary piece of desert.

I don't like to sound disparaging, but the level of engineering and autopilot challenge here is very different. SpaceX first did most of what Blue Origin just achieved back in 2013.

Having said that, private space flight! In my lifetime! Paging all Skiffy writers: Science Marches On!

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Yes - it is a bit of an achievement. Landing a tall, unstable cylinder on a relatively narrow track undercarriage, balancing only on a rocket exhaust is a very tricky thing to do. However, as has been pointed out, what Blue Origin did this week is essentially a repeat of what the SpaceX Grasshopper did a couple of years ago - and what even the DC-X achieved over 20 years ago. But it's still impressive.

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I still think having a parachute on board to arrest the rate of descent would be helpful. Those last few feet look awfully dodgy to me as the rate of descent only slows dramatically literally microseconds before touchdown.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Next they do it again - with a refurbished 1st stage. They probably will not refurbish this one as they will want to pull this one apart to see what type of battering it took on the way back in.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I can't see the floating barge idea working too well. Far better IMHO to concentrate on landing the thing on a stable surface then, maybe moving onto an unstable platform if you really think it's a good idea (which I don't).

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From the webcast it looks like that it isn't always going to be possible to get back to land,so they need the ships( Love the names!).

It looked like it was just the leg failing that stopped it being successful this time, and it was quite choppy.

It sounded like they are more than happy to learn from the failures, I also like them also using their own staff as presenters.

Paul

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That was an amazing landing - straight out of Buck Rogers, but real! I'm seeing things now when it comes to space travel that used to just be science fiction when I was young. I thankfully haven't lost my youthful fascination with outer space and space travel.

Regards,

Jason

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The fact that it was landing on a barge doesn't appear to have been the problem. One of the legs failed to lock down properly when deployed. This leg then folded a split second after the successful touch down - which caused the rocket to topple over. The suspect is ice stopped one of the locking collets from sliding into position. They think that the freezing fog that existed all through launch morning might have been the culprit.

Edited by Eric Mc
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If the same problem kept happening they would have been concerned. The fact that each landing failure has had a different cause means that continuous improvement is happening. After all, it is rocket science we're talking about here.

Time for a redesign...

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All True and maybe my comment appeared harsher than I intended. There is a lot to like about the New Space Race and it definitely represents progress in a way that the Politically shackled space Shuttle could never achieve.

My instinct is still to favour removing a variable if possible then re-introducing it once the other issues are contained but the Rocket Scientists must have better information.

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