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Space Science

Jeff Bezos' Shot At Space 159

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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  • Another One? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RobertTaylor ( 444958 ) <roberttaylor1234&gmail,com> on Saturday April 26, 2003 @07:19PM (#5816871) Homepage Journal
    Jeez another person with their own space company. It seems im the only one without one!
  • Space Race 2.0? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seldolivaw ( 179178 ) * <me AT seldo DOT com> on Saturday April 26, 2003 @07:25PM (#5816893) Homepage
    What the hell happened? Did someone declare a second space race and I missed the memo? The X-prize has been around a while, but in the last few weeks I've read of four separate previously-secret ventures to get people into space cheaply. So soon after Columbia, and in the middle of an economic downturn doesn't sound like the greatest time to announce high-risk, expensive projects like these. What gives? Even if the others are just copycats, what pushed the first guy to publish?

    Waiting to be enlightened here....
  • Re:Space? Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 26, 2003 @08:16PM (#5817012)
    Why would anyone build a boat and go in the water. You could drown it is dangerous.
  • by thoolie ( 442789 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @08:28PM (#5817046)
    A great quote from the article really points to something that is pretty neat, IMHO, "The computer and Internet revolutions have given a great deal of capital to the 'Star Wars' fans."

    It really is a good point, never befor have so many "nerds" had the cash to do something this cool!
  • by oaf357 ( 661305 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @08:56PM (#5817101) Homepage Journal
    Okay, this might seem terrible to say but what happens when one of these guys goes broke? Even worse, when there's an accident? I'm very happy to see progression of this kind because it really doesn't seem like NASA will be doing any for quite some time but have these guys seen the BIG picture? Redesigning rockets from the ground up is a good thing but remember when NASA was designing rockets? They had numerous scrubbed, failed, and fatal launches. Maybe these organizations should get together and pool their resources a little and make sure safety first is a goal. The worst thing that could happen to human space travel would be for another disasterous loss of life to occur. Because if a government can't do it and private organizations can't do it then who can? I wish these people and their employees the best of luck and hope they are successful in their ventures.
  • by Traa ( 158207 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @09:01PM (#5817116) Homepage Journal
    Got to love those journalists that start the article with a picture of a rival company's craft without specifically mentioning that this craft has nothing to do with Mr Bezos.

    On top of that, the picture is Photoshopped (whoops, I mean "Gimped" :-)

    Compare the bottom of this [scaled.com] picture closely to this [scaled.com] image. Both are from Scaled Composites own site. Scaled Composites is one of the competitors for the X-price.

    Note the following fakes:
    1) The attachment of the crafts is a Photoshop job. They removed the wheels (look closely at the spot on the small plane that suposedly holds the wheels) and note that they forgot to remove the shadow of the front stand. Also, the shadow on the attachement between the planes is (nicely) faked. For that matter, so is the whole attachment.
    2) The small plane does not actually have an exhaust (the red thingy). In all the pictures this thing looks a little different. Note how it is awkwardly in and out of shadow in the above pictures.


    Do investors know about this? Is this common practice for a startup (ok, forget I asked that ;-)? If I photoshop a cool plane, will you give me 1 Gazillion $$ too?
  • by kevlar ( 13509 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @09:05PM (#5817131)
    With all these billionares forming their own space oriented companies, what the hell is stopping them from pooling their resources for their common goal?!?! You'd think that if they were capable of doing all this so cheaply, that triple or quadruple the capital would help speed things along...
  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @09:45PM (#5817269)
    You've also got a cascade effect. As soon as one company publicly announces themselves, a lot of the others are going to want to speak up so the first company doesn't hog the spotlight. This will be especially true if they are currently seeking investors or plan to start doing so in the near future.
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Saturday April 26, 2003 @10:14PM (#5817346)
    First paul allen, now jeff bezos, and of course other retuired dotcommers all seem bent on space vehicles and x-prize stuff. I think this is their yacht racing. look arond at the uber rich and what do you see?

    the clinton era-boom generation of newly-rich are going for the x-prize. the reagan-era deregulation sired rich (like the virgin-atlantic folks and forbes-types) went for balloon racing and round the world plane flights. and the era before that the merger moguls like ted turner were going for yacht racing.

    its all alpha-male competition. this time however its the alpha-male-geeks which explains the sci-fi content.

  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @02:36AM (#5818110)
    I think this is their yacht racing. look arond at the uber rich and what do you see?

    Sure, but it has potentially much more economic and scientific value than yacht racing. The only way any of these guys is going to succeed is by coming up with a cheap way of manned space flight, which NASA sure as hell hasn't. If they make it, it ought to be a huge technological advance.

    Besides, manned space travel is currently just a giant boondoggle anyway (while the unmanned probes are far more useful and cheaper). Better that it be funded by private investors - I don't want NASA spending my tax dollars on shuttle flights just for the hell of it. Maybe if Bezos or Carmack gets something working we'll be on Mars after all.
  • by macpeep ( 36699 ) on Sunday April 27, 2003 @03:36AM (#5818258)
    I think you're blowing this way out of proportion. First of all, the company is well known for making high quality planes. It's not like this is just a PR stunt. They have already made lots and lots of planes with very similar designs as this. For example the Voyager that was the first plane to fly non-stop around the world.

    Second, some of the major flukes such as the "exhausts missing" are probably just different versions of the plane, or taken at different times. That is, it might be that the component missing is currently in service or not yet installed in the photo where it is missing. So what?

    Third, the landing gear that seems to be Photoshopped away might be just that. It might be that they forgot them down or that the hydraulics for moving them doesn't work unless you charge the batteries etc. etc. first. And so they just Photoshopped them away instead. What's the big deal?

    I mean, what exactly are you suggesting? That they don't know how to make retractable landing gears?

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