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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 09 2021, @12:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the competition dept.

Branson may make a last-ditch effort to beat Bezos into space:

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Monday he would fly on the first human spaceflight of his company's New Shepard spacecraft. This mission will launch from Blue Origin's spaceport in West Texas on July 20, which is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969.

With this timeline, Bezos seemed almost certain to beat his suborbital space tourism rival, Sir Richard Branson, into space. Setting aside whether Branson's VSS Unity vehicle reaches space—its maximum altitude is just below the Kármán line, or 100 km—this is nonetheless a meaningful milestone.


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Wednesday June 09 2021, @12:55AM (11 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday June 09 2021, @12:55AM (#1143350) Journal

    Out of the space billionaire trio, Branson's company was the only one to kill somebody in a crash (so far).

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by NateMich on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:50AM (1 child)

      by NateMich (6662) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:50AM (#1143382)

      Yeah, Branson's rocket plane can get to "space". The New Shephard can also get into "space".
      Let's see which "space" billionaire can get there first. Very exciting.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:13PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:13PM (#1143539) Journal

        Yawn!

        Wake me up when either of these space billionaires can actually put something useful, especially a human, into orbit.

        This first to orbit mine-is-bigger-than-yours measuring contest seems like neither Bezos nor Branson are actually serious about space. Both of them seem interested and indeed even focused upon sub-orbital joyrides. No wonder they can't yet put anything into orbit.

        Hey Bezos, how about some fright certified BE-4 engines that ULA needs in order to fulfill its military contracts?

        --
        The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:46AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:46AM (#1143403)

      It's also the only one that requires a pilot because it only has manual controls. I love the concept but the lack of automation is why I've given up on them ever reaching orbit.

      • (Score: 2) by NateMich on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:00AM (7 children)

        by NateMich (6662) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:00AM (#1143423)

        I love the concept but the lack of automation is why I've given up on them ever reaching orbit.

        Did they ever plan on reaching orbit? It doesn't seem possible without different hardware entirely.

        • (Score: 2) by pe1rxq on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:27AM (5 children)

          by pe1rxq (844) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:27AM (#1143460) Homepage

          Reaching 100km is one thing, but at that point they are still about 25000km/h short of being in orbit.

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:18PM (4 children)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:18PM (#1143544) Journal

            I think they are not only short of altitude to achieve orbit, but are short by a whole bunch of velocity.

            No surprise when their first development isn't even intended to reach orbit but merely be a sub orbital joyride.

            It's like having a goal of getting to the moon, and thinking that if we can just reach the tree tops, that is a good first step which helps us achieve getting to the moon. It doesn't.

            Don't build your space program around something that you know before you build it can never achieve your actual goal.

            My goal is to build a self powered car that can move under its own power. Look! I managed to build a wheeled vehicle that can be pushed! it's a step toward the goal!

            --
            The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
            • (Score: 2) by pe1rxq on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:49PM (1 child)

              by pe1rxq (844) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:49PM (#1143605) Homepage

              km/h is velocity (for most of the world at least)

              • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:26PM

                by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:26PM (#1143651) Journal

                I used the technical description "a whole bunch" which can be converted into km/h without difficulty.

                --
                The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @06:01PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @06:01PM (#1143609)

              I think they are not only short of altitude to achieve orbit, but are short by a whole bunch of velocity.

              That's what pe1rxq said.

              My goal is to build a self powered car that can move under its own power. Look! I managed to build a wheeled vehicle that can be pushed! it's a step toward the goal!

              But that is a step towards the goal. Critical path, even. Steering and breaks would be good next steps before self propulsion. Early cars drew a lot of technical and design experience from horse drawn buggies. The problem is stopping at that point. A better analogy would be building an airplane but never taking it out of ground effect. Yes, you've technically flown, and GEV's have their uses, but you will never achieve the full potential until you learn to fly higher.

              There is nothing preventing either Branson or Bezos from achieving orbit. Branson even did it back in January with Virgin Orbit. True, they need to develop heat shields for reuse to happen, SpaceShipTwo still needs a working autopilot, and they are both likely to lose a few prototypes in the process, but neither of them have put any effort into those critical steps.

              • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:31PM

                by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:31PM (#1143657) Journal

                There is nothing preventing either Branson or Bezos from achieving orbit. Branson even did it back in January with Virgin Orbit. True, they need to develop heat shields for reuse to happen,

                Heat shields may be necessary if the capsule is to be re-used. But heat shields aren't necessary merely to get a human to orbit in order to win this pissing match. [even though other humans have already been taken to orbit by SpaceX.]

                SpaceShipTwo still needs a working autopilot, and they are both likely to lose a few prototypes in the process, but neither of them have put any effort into those critical steps.

                I'm sure that either Bezos or Branson would be able to inflate the auto pilot without difficulty.

                Losing a prototype doesn't matter as long as you win the pissing match.

                --
                The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
        • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday June 09 2021, @10:34AM

          by PiMuNu (3823) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @10:34AM (#1143479)

          Suborbital shuttles though. That was on SN yesterday for example.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:07AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:07AM (#1143359)

    Ballmer's Death Star.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:21PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:21PM (#1143545) Journal

      The death star fizzled. All it was capable of inflicting was baldness and impotence.

      Now Microsoft is fast embracing everything open source, including -- OMG -- Linux.

      Ballmer would be spinning in his . . . oh, not quite yet.

      --
      The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:00AM (15 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:00AM (#1143386) Journal

    if I just don't give a damn? The billionaire's space race is already won. The two runners-ups are having some kind of silly spat? *yawn* Wake me if either of them ever accomplishes anything in the space frontier.

    • (Score: 4, Touché) by takyon on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:18AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:18AM (#1143395) Journal

      Most net worth burnt in suborbit

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:49AM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:49AM (#1143405)

      I wouldn't go that far. Moon II is heating up and there is still a chance to beat Musk to Mars.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:08AM (6 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:08AM (#1143410) Journal

        there is still a chance to beat Musk to Mars.

        I think that chance is ≤ to the chance that Musk's first mission fails. If there is a serious contender, I'd like to hear about him/her/them. Said contender certainly hasn't publicized their goals very well.

        • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:48AM (5 children)

          by coolgopher (1157) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:48AM (#1143430)

          China/India would be the one(s) to look out for I suspect.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:00AM (4 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:00AM (#1143436) Journal

            Mmmmmm - maybe. China has actually put a payload on Mars, as well as the moon. They're working on a space station. The secretive CCP may have missions planned that I know nothing about.

            India? They orbited the moon, in 2008. 2013, the moon impact probe. 2014 Mars orbiter. Vikram crashed on the moon. They've done lots of satellites, and are planning a mission to Venus. Nothing to indicate that a manned mission is planned anywhere higher than high earth orbit. Please correct me if I'm missing something big there.

            • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:00AM (3 children)

              by coolgopher (1157) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @07:00AM (#1143455)

              No I think you're spot on. I largely added India because I have a feeling that they might be at the early stages of an exponential curve of progress, and I see there being a small possibility of China and India teaming up in order to "beat the west". China going alone out of national pride being the more likely in my mind.

              • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:49PM

                by Freeman (732) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:49PM (#1143535) Journal

                I definitely agree with regards to India. India's barely got a Space Agency and they're doing good just to launch their own satellites and/or shoot someone else's down. They also don't seem likely to blow money on a manned Mars mission.

                While China is "secretive" they don't look to be in a position to beat Musk to Mars. At least not without a serious commitment on their part. Why would they commit such massive resources anyway? Better to let Musk scout it out first. At this point, we have no idea what resources are on Mars and it's not terribly likely to be good ROI for your money.

                --
                Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
              • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @06:10PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @06:10PM (#1143615)

                China and India teaming up on anything isn't going to happen in our lifetimes, if ever, but I can certainly see a cold-war style space race happening between them. China has a leg up due to Russian assistance but India has long since proven that they can compete when they want to. It would be well worth watching.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:57AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @02:57AM (#1143408)

      Runaway was never a contender for the Mars race. Shit, he can barely get his Trailblazer to get his butt to work, most days. Oh, the dreams of greatness, of the Lumpen Arkansasian proletariat!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:18AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:18AM (#1143415)

        I don't believe anyone visiting this site has the wherewithal to wake up Runaway1956, irrespective of whatever else might occur. Even Azuma has given up on him. He will never be woke - and proud of it.

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:46AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:46AM (#1143419)

          I don't believe anyone visiting this site has the wherewithal

          Woke projection. You are unable to accomplish something/anything, therefore, no one is capable of achieving the stated goal. Meanwhile, unwoke people all around the world go on about their lives, accomplishing things that you can't even dream of. Maybe you would be happier over on Youtube, following clickbait titles, watching other people do things that you cannot.

          Mmmmmmm, what's for dinner? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA0YDK5Zpb8 [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:24AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:24AM (#1143416)

      Musk: Look at them clown billiona9res - losers with money.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @08:35AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @08:35AM (#1143468)

      How about Tony "Jim Jones" Fauci?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @01:15PM (#1143506)

        Drinking the "Cruel Aid" again Runaway?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MIRV888 on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:48AM (2 children)

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Wednesday June 09 2021, @04:48AM (#1143431)

    All I can ever think of is Weyland-Yutani.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:09AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09 2021, @05:09AM (#1143438)

      Really? I see A stunning validation of capitalism; newcomer shakes up incumbents and government operations at the same time. Opens up previously unconsidered possibilities for space.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:24PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09 2021, @03:24PM (#1143546) Journal

      All I can ever think of is Weyland-Yutani.

      Thinking that is like thinking, . . . oh, like thinking that Google might one day turn out to be evil. Couldn't happen. Never gonna happen. Not even if you waited for a million microseconds.

      --
      The lower I set my standards the more accomplishments I have.
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10 2021, @12:30AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10 2021, @12:30AM (#1143749)

    When the corporations show up and take the stage, it's game over man, game over...

    The internet was an amazing new vista, a new frontier, for what, about a decade at best? Then, the corporations moved in and ruined everything, like they always do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va2K__8rV3o [youtube.com]

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