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I dunno, it looks like a partially built booster, that's under final assembly. I wouldn't be surprised if it'll be flight ready like SLS and Vulcan is supposed to be soon. Didn't they keep New Shepard vague until it wasn't? I don't think it'll be quite "open the doors one day and launch a fully built rocket out of nowhere", but it might be close.

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3 minutes ago, Spaceception said:

I dunno, it looks like a partially built booster, that's under final assembly. I wouldn't be surprised if it'll be flight ready like SLS and Vulcan is supposed to be soon. Didn't they keep New Shepard vague until it wasn't? I don't think it'll be quite "open the doors one day and launch a fully built rocket out of nowhere", but it might be close.

That does seem to be how they operate.

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11 minutes ago, RCgothic said:

They'll need to actually put a pathfinder on the launch facilities to make sure everything fits. I'd be amazed if the first vehicle out of the factory is a flight article.

Maybe they will.

Funny thing about these "pathfinders" is that they are basically the same as what we used to call "mockups". And back in the 1990s, airplane companies started moving away from building physical mockups into doing everything via 3D digital mockups. (Arguably they moved too far in this direction, as several airplane programs encountered some issues with it. The most infamous was the one where the different A380 teams supposedly used different versions of CATIA and it turned out all their wiring interfaces didn't match up.)

Anyway, the point is that physical "pathfinders" are not *necessarily* needed.

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Yeah, this might be a "pathfinder" and might never fly, but it's not a pathfinder in the same way they had an SLS core pathfinder that was a tube of the right mass/size, and bore little other resemblance to a flight article core (except it was probably REALLY expensive, so it shared that in common).

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On 2/12/2021 at 10:04 PM, Spaceception said:

I don't think it'll be quite "open the doors one day and launch a fully built rocket out of nowhere", but it might be close.

Doors? Nah, I'm expecting they open the roof hatches and launch.

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Oh wow! BO actually demonstrated something resembling a rocket. Aside from New Shepard, of course. So far, keeping New Glenn sub rosa did not made them many friends in space nerd community - wonder if this reveal will repair BO's reputation?

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9 hours ago, Scotius said:

Oh wow! BO actually demonstrated something resembling a rocket. Aside from New Shepard, of course. So far, keeping New Glenn sub rosa did not made them many friends in space nerd community - wonder if this reveal will repair BO's reputation?

Why would they care? Their business is not making people like KSP fans and Tim Dodd happy.

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19 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

Why would they care? Their business is not making people like KSP fans and Tim Dodd happy.

Certainly true.

That said, they do make some efforts at creating public interest in spaceflight in general, and BO in particular. If they want "millions of people living and working in space" as Bezos says all the time, creating some public interest would not be a bad thing. In general I think being open (as NASA was in the 1960s) vs secretive (the CCCP in the same time period) creates a sense of being "along for the ride," that grabs people's interest. Obviously there's no need for "branding" in the usual sense, they will get customers based on capability and price/value, and those customers are few and far between (and many probably know much more about how NG is progressing than we do).

At least once they actually fly, there's no hiding a 7m dia rocket :D

 

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7 minutes ago, tater said:

Certainly true.

That said, they do make some efforts at creating public interest in spaceflight in general, and BO in particular. If they want "millions of people living and working in space" as Bezos says all the time, creating some public interest would not be a bad thing. In general I think being open (as NASA was in the 1960s) vs secretive (the CCCP in the same time period) creates a sense of being "along for the ride," that grabs people's interest. Obviously there's no need for "branding" in the usual sense, they will get customers based on capability and price/value, and those customers are few and far between (and many probably know much more about how NG is progressing than we do).

At least once they actually fly, there's no hiding a 7m dia rocket :D

 

Pretty much this. Any company working on space transportation should want to project positive image. Even just so politicians would notice public interest in space exploration. Also, it helps when you are being seen as modern, progressive and ready to push boundaries.

It works well for car manufacturers :)

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8 minutes ago, tater said:

Obviously there's no need for "branding" in the usual sense, they will get customers based on capability and price/value, and those customers are few and far between (and many probably know much more about how NG is progressing than we do).

This is both right and wrong. They obviously do see a need for branding. If I asked you to think of Blue Origin, isn't that blue feather probably the first image that pops into mind? They clearly have some branding.

But I didn't say they had no need for branding or PR. I said they have no need to make KSP fans or Tim Dodd happy. Their market does not require them to feed info and updates to "space nerds". Mainly I think SpaceX does it because Musk likes being in the spotlight. Bezos seems to have very little desire for that.

Neither of them are even public companies, so they don't particularly have to please public shareholders.

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18 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

This is both right and wrong. They obviously do see a need for branding. If I asked you to think of Blue Origin, isn't that blue feather probably the first image that pops into mind? They clearly have some branding.

Always wondered with a company that will be shortened to 'BO" as much as they try to get people to say "Blue," instead, and the feather... Dunno, their branding at that level seems pretty weak to me.

But yeah, they make flashy videos, and they certainly need to attract people to NS if they ever plan to get paying passengers, they are trying, but it's not their strong suit.

Quote

But I didn't say they had no need for branding or PR. I said they have no need to make KSP fans or Tim Dodd happy. Their market does not require them to feed info and updates to "space nerds". Mainly I think SpaceX does it because Musk likes being in the spotlight. Bezos seems to have very little desire for that.

Neither of them are even public companies, so they don't particularly have to please public shareholders.

Yeah, that's the "certainly true" part.

But again, if you listen to Bezos himself, he sounds like he wants to create a real interest in the project of moving humans (and nasty, polluting industry) to space. It's odd, because honestly, he's a much, much better speaker than Musk is, and there's a lot of overlap in the end goals. Musk just wants the millions living and working on Mars, vs "space."

I tend to see BO's PR dept a lost opportunity for creating general public interest (though "splodey" rockets livestreamed is kinda hard to compete with).

Actually, given their supposed work towards tourist spaceflights, BO seems to be moderating their PR footprint to show success, and make people comfortable with literally trusting their lives with them.

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7 minutes ago, tater said:

Actually, given their supposed work towards tourist spaceflights, BO seems to be moderating their PR footprint to show success, and make people comfortable with literally trusting their lives with them.

This is probably a big reason why they originally only showed New Shepard launches after they were successful. Showing one blow up wouldn't have been great for the tourist trade.

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23 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

This is probably a big reason why they originally only showed New Shepard launches after they were successful. Showing one blow up wouldn't have been great for the tourist trade.

I have to ask however... is BO's development method behind the scenes are as destructive as SpX ? I mean compared to other national launcher development (which definitely stress more on every single thing going as smooth as it can without much destructive test) they barely even show tests like static engine fire, or fitting test and things like such. I even didn't realize that they're actually quite far into development for New Glenn (been in the drawing since 2012 and apparently the first BE-4 engine to be used on Vulcan is already sent) that I kinda have doubts at first that the LV is within the 2023-2025 first launch window.

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56 minutes ago, YNM said:

I have to ask however... is BO's development method behind the scenes are as destructive as SpX ? I mean compared to other national launcher development (which definitely stress more on every single thing going as smooth as it can without much destructive test) they barely even show tests like static engine fire, or fitting test and things like such. I even didn't realize that they're actually quite far into development for New Glenn (been in the drawing since 2012 and apparently the first BE-4 engine to be used on Vulcan is already sent) that I kinda have doubts at first that the LV is within the 2023-2025 first launch window.

I don't know. Obviously according to their motto they reject the idea of "build it, break it, fix it" that SpaceX embraces.

I'm sure the truth is in the middle for both companies.

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34 minutes ago, mikegarrison said:

I don't know. Obviously according to their motto they reject the idea of "build it, break it, fix it" that SpaceX embraces.

I'm sure the truth is in the middle for both companies.

Yeah, we see so much of what goes on at SpaceX, and so little of what goes on elsewhere.

McGreggor for SpaceX is more like what the rest do. They test engines, many probably have some level of failure/trouble, and they iterate. We only knows that comes out of that facility becasue people shoot pics with huge serial numbers on them as they roll past to the pad. Who knows how many there were at reduced scale, etc? Ditto Be-4 for BO, the 2 they sent to ULA are test articles they probably fired some number of times, and decided to tweak the next articles for flight engines—as long as the plumbing is basically the same for the Vulcan interface (and the specs are the same), little internal changes would not matter from a fit standpoint. They can blow up all kinds of engines to get what they want out of them—and we will never know til someone there writes a history of it.

I suppose the other thing to remember is that SpaceX is also pretty new. The companies absorbed into ULA, NG, etc, all did their "destructive testing" over many decades. Heck, we watched that one SRM have the nozzle failure live a few months ago. We watched Boeing have a series of issues with CST-100 live, too. Maybe it's just we're used to a higher rate of such things with SpaceX?

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11 hours ago, tater said:

I suppose the other thing to remember is that SpaceX is also pretty new. The companies absorbed into ULA, NG, etc, all did their "destructive testing" over many decades. Heck, we watched that one SRM have the nozzle failure live a few months ago. We watched Boeing have a series of issues with CST-100 live, too. Maybe it's just we're used to a higher rate of such things with SpaceX?

Well, I'm talking stuff like JAXA's new H3 rocket, which from what I can tell they do have a decent amount of PR exposure put in, although it doesn't mean they show everything in the open either. Other countries might seem more secretive, albeit for some others I'm sure language barrier plays into account as well (say, ISRO).

But yeah, I guess when they roll their rocket to the pad it'd still be a good news regardless of what happens then and there. (as long as we're not losing lives I guess.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Berger is entirely correct here.

How BO losing a USAF contract changed anything for them is bizarre. ULA got 60% of that contract for their hasn't flown yet rocket (on schedule at least), to the tune of nearly a billion $. SpaceX got 40% (closer to 600M$). Those figures are spread out over the whole multi-year contract. Yeah, a lot of money, but that's ~0.3% of what Bezos is worth, and less than he supposedly ponies up every year.

 

 

Quote

New Glenn’s Progress Towards Maiden Flight

As major progress is being made on the New Glenn launch vehicle and its Cape Canaveral facilities, the schedule has been refined to match the demand of Blue Origin’s commercial customers. The current target for New Glenn’s maiden flight is Q4 2022. The Blue Origin team has been in contact with all of our customers to ensure this baseline meets their launch needs.

This updated maiden flight target follows the recent Space Force decision to not select New Glenn for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP). 

New Glenn is proceeding to fulfill its current commercial contracts, pursue a large and growing commercial market, and enter into new civil space launch contracts. We hope to launch NSSL payloads in the future, and remain committed to serving the U.S. national defense mission. 

Recent milestones include completion of a New Glenn first stage mockup simulator, completion of a structural test facility, and hardware milestones for tanks, stage modules, and composite fairings.

In addition to program progress, more than 600 jobs have been created in the region. Blue Origin has invested more than $2.5 billion in facilities and infrastructure at all sites, including $1 billion invested in the rebuild of historic LC-36, which is nearing completion.

 

They are spending a BILLION on the launch pad?

Wonder what 39A refurb cost?

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1. They have enough comms to justify having a director, communications?

2. Ah, cool, a 1st stage mockup in 3 pieces.

3. 23ft is smaller than Starship, which is technically flying.

4. Cool fairing, though I think we've seen one before. Pretty sure Atlas V has a fairing that's more than half that volume, as is FH's new fairing (It'll fly first). Less than half a Starship.

5. The TATC building is a very tall empty building.

6. The rocket garage is a very long empty building.

7. Ok, the road to space is pretty cool.

8. Human spaceflight from LC36, yes please. What capsule?

9. They really do seem to have all the facilities ready, just no rocket. Agreed Q422 means 23.

10. More of these videos please.

 

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2 hours ago, tater said:

How BO losing a USAF contract changed anything for them is bizarre. ULA got 60% of that contract for their hasn't flown yet rocket (on schedule at least), to the tune of nearly a billion $. SpaceX got 40% (closer to 600M$). Those figures are spread out over the whole multi-year contract. Yeah, a lot of money, but that's ~0.3% of what Bezos is worth, and less than he supposedly ponies up every year.

Maybe more to do with the BE-4 engines themselves ? I imagine they're not risking more out of their own pocket here. Put the engines on Vulcan, see how they perform, do the final adjustments on NG when they know it's a good engine.

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They were on track for Q3-Q4 2022 before that contract was awarded to SpaceX and ULA anyway, though.

They just wanted an excuse.

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