Bezos Happy With Blue Origin’s Progress on New Shepard

With touchdown 1,630 feet from the launch pad, Blue Origin completed a successful test of its Crew Capsule escape system. (Credit: Blue Origin)
With touchdown 1,630 feet from the launch pad, Blue Origin completed a successful test of its Crew Capsule escape system. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Amazon.com Founder Jeff Bezos is expressing optimism over the progress of Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle, but he’s not saying when he expects his company to fly it.

“The project is going extremely well,” Bezos said of Blue Origin. “It’s a killer team of passionate, highly-technical people working on this.”

Blue Origin is now working on its third version of the New Shepard, which is designed to take everyday people on suborbital journeys. Bezos said that he’s hopeful that this will be the last iteration, and he wants to see the next vehicle ready for commercial operation.

Bezos didn’t give any specific timetables. However, he did say that Blue Origin’s orbital vehicle, designed to send astronauts to the International Space Station and elsewhere, will be tested by 2018.

Bezos added that Blue Origin is now up to 300 employees.

Read the full story.

  • DaIllogicalVulkan

    Finally, nice to hear some news from Blue Origin
    wishem luck!

  • QuantumG

    10 years, nothing to show for it, happy.

  • therealdmt

    The escape system is definitely a major element.

    I think the main thing is, Bezos has the money, resources, and apparently the patience and sticktoittiveness to see the venture through. One could argue he has no less (nor more) to show for his efforts than Sir Richard Branson, who has also been working on a passenger carrying rocket for about ten years (just more loudly).

    It seems the Blue Origin effort could use a little more of a sense of urgency though — but who knows how it will all turn out? The tortoise _did_ beat the hare after all! It’s not necessarily who’s first, but who’s best. First to market can actually be a disadvantage as competitors both see what to copy and have the example of your mistakes to learn from and avoid.

    ,

  • therealdmt

    Of course, results count and there’s not much to show in that regard yet. The amazing thing is that they’re still hanging in there, slow ‘n steady, still ramping up.

    This is clearly a side project for Bezos (as opposed to a main endeavor, like SpaceX for Musk). My guess is that as long as Amazon is successful, Blue Origin will still be in there plugging away at it. The trick will then be will Blue Origin be able to build itself into a successful business in its own right (a long term proposition) before Amazon hits a downturn (nothing lasts forever — just ask Sears or Kmart, or the Washington Post for that matter).

  • Enrique Moreno

    We enjoy an amazing era. This is very similar to aeronautics pioneers at the first years of 20th century.

    20s will be formidable.

    Good luck!!

  • mfck

    “First to market can actually be a disadvantage as competitors both see what to copy and have the example of your mistakes to learn from and avoid”

    Maybe… if you are a Richard Branson, FTM is a disadvantage. Not if you are Elon Musk though.

  • therealdmt

    Yeah, I think Elon Musk will survive the potential FTM pitfalls too. It’s more everyone else I’m worried about!

  • Andy

    They did design, build, fire, and fly a LOX/LH2 engine (including in-house turbopump design). They also did that pad abort test. And they’ve flown the New Shepards a couple of times (that we know about). Not as much to show for their 10 years as SpaceX, but it’s also not nothing.

  • Chris Courtois

    Yet they tried to sneak a launch pad off from SpaceX’s hands. Blue Origin must fail and quick.

  • QuantumG

    I’m not aware of Blue Origin flying anything with a turbopump. Source?

  • Andy

    Hmm. Can’t seem to find one. I guess I jumped to the incorrect conclusion that since BE-3 is a turbopump fed motor, the motors they used for those short hops was also turbopump fed. My mistake.