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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 09, @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: 2) by NateMich on Wednesday June 09, @04:00AM (7 children)

    by NateMich (6662) on Wednesday June 09, @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.

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

    by pe1rxq (844) on Wednesday June 09, @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, @03:18PM (4 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @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!

      --
      OMG! There are roving gangs going door to door FORCING people to get vaccinated!
      • (Score: 2) by pe1rxq on Wednesday June 09, @05:49PM (1 child)

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

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

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

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

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

          --
          OMG! There are roving gangs going door to door FORCING people to get vaccinated!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @06:01PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, @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, @07:31PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 09, @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.

          --
          OMG! There are roving gangs going door to door FORCING people to get vaccinated!
  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Wednesday June 09, @10:34AM

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

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