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Space Science

Jeff Bezos' Shot At Space 159

Posted by timothy
from the more-fun-than-yachts dept.
Brad Stone points out his story (due out in Monday's issue of Newsweek) on Jeff Bezos' secret space-oriented company, called Blue Origin -- which aims to launch tourists in a reusable vehicle. The article also touches on some of the other private space ventures you've been reading about lately. (One cool note about Blue Origin is that Neal Stephenson is an employee; I hope he's not allowed anywhere dangerous.)
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Jeff Bezos' Shot At Space

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  • by TWX (665546) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @08:31PM (#5816908)
    It would be pretty cool if he were there because he's trying to get some experience for a future novel. It'd be especially funny, if comparing this work to Snow Crash, if he were going to have his character be a janitor in a space facility or somesuch, and like our infamous pizza driver, took on the closest weird job of custodial maintenance at this company to get a feel for what his character's life would be...
  • Re:Space Race 2.0? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MilesBehind (517130) <kenkm@ro[ ] ['ger' in gap]> on Saturday April 26, 2003 @08:36PM (#5816922)
    I think it's all pretty much to be expected. I mean, during the boom years, ppl were plopping money on gold-lined swimming pools and lamborghinis. This might be what's to be expected of anyone that came into more money then they knew what to do with. Still, some of them were nerds who grew up gobbling Clarke, Niven and Asimov, which probably caused them to think, while watching a space shuttle launch: "hmmm... I could afford that, too!"

    So, five years later, their secret projects are going public, cuz they finally have something that resembles a proper plan.

    That, and the fact that NASA's recent stumbles provide a fertile ground for a private, less bueraucratic space-oriented enterprises.
  • High tech (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shadowbearer (554144) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @10:10PM (#5817141) Homepage Journal
    from article: " Rutan has spent a celebrated career designing airplanes like the Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the world without refueling. He doesn't classify as an immigrant from high tech"

    Voyager? Not high tech? The first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping for fuel? Methinks he's pretty modest ... y'know, I think I like this guy.

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @10:42PM (#5817256) Homepage Journal
    Stephenson is into high-power rocketry. I once asked him, at a signing, what Tripoli / NAR* Cert Level (the internally-administered skill level which determines the size of rocket motors one can purchase) he'd achieved.

    He'd gotten to Level Two, which requires a written test and successfully launching a carefully inspected large rocket. As I recall, it lets you use "J" and "K" motors. (For those who flew Estes motors as kids, this is the equivalent of 64 and 128 D motors.)

    Level Three requires a really large and sturdy rocket, and lets you use monstrous M motors.

    (I was certified in the early 90s before there were levels, but let it lapse during grad school; when I tried for level one last year I failed because my model's nose cone popped off due to internal pressure. Nothing damaged, but that was enough to scuttle the attempt.)

    Now I'm picturing him filling out the paperwork for Cert Level 4: Manned Flight.


    * Tripoli Rocketry Association / National Association of Rocketry

  • by apsmith (17989) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @11:22PM (#5817368) Homepage
    The Space Access Society [] has its annual meeting this weekend; this is the first one since the X prize [] was announced to be fully funded last October, and the race has definitely been heating up.

    This year is also the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers flight, and a lot of these companies see this year as a terribly symbolic time to actually make it all happen.

    It's time :-) Space enterprise will be the next big growth area - and NASA won't have a whole lot to do with it. Think of the shuttle accident as just another piece of motivation these guys need - right now the US has no human spaceflight capability, until one of these companies succeeds, or the shuttle starts flying again. Which do you think will happen first?
  • Tax Stunt... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PhiloHmm (200352) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @01:43AM (#5817803)
    Could this just be a way from them to spend more than 7.5% of their Adjusted Gross Income on a hobby to get another tax deduction? Hmm...
  • Re:More (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xaaronx (660963) <> on Sunday April 27, 2003 @04:26AM (#5818235)
    We aren't going to get beyond LEO with private enterprise. I'm saddened by the realization, but no D. D. Harriman is going to emerge to get us onto another world. I'd like to see us mine the He3 on the moon, and think we will. But it will be due mainly to gevernment research and spending, much as I hate the fact. Private enterprise won't even have much to do with developing the controlled, sustainable fusion reactors we need the He3 FOR, let alone the vehicles that get it from Luna to Earth. The invesment's too big, the payoff too small, and the timescale too long for any serious investors. Write your congresscritter and tell them how important fusion and space travel are. And read Robert Zubrin's Entering Space, an eye-opening book.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison