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NASA Space

Blue Origin To Launch Big Rockets From Canaveral's Rechristened Complex 36 71

As reported by The Verge, Jeff Bezos's space venture Blue Origin today unveiled its new facility at Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 36. Complex 36 was once the launching point for NASA and USAF Atlas rockets, as well as for NASA's Mariner missions. "Now," says the article, "after a decade of inactivity, the complex will be revamped and renamed Exploration Park. ... Bezos said the company hopes to launch people from Exploration Park later this decade. He also announced plans to build a new orbital rocket at the facility, which he noted will use the company's upcoming BE-4 engine." (More coverage of the Blue Origin opening at the L.A. Times and Wired.)
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Blue Origin To Launch Big Rockets From Canaveral's Rechristened Complex 36

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  • Paging Inigo Montoya.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The era of manned space exploration has closed, for now. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress have so slashed the NASA budget, that NASA
    is reduced to being just the landlord at Cape Canaveral. The next US-sponsored manned flight is more than five years away to test the next gen systems (if the Tea Party doesn't kill it altogether). Most of the integration and launch facilities have now been leased to Boeing, Lockheed, Bezos, etc.
    This straight from the horse's mouth: I was at a lecture by the Adminis

  • So they're planning to build a rocket based on the same engines they're going to sell to ULA, which I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone who's been following this stuff.
    I guess it just speaks to ULA's desperation, to design their new rocket based on engines supplied by their future competitor.

  • by werepants ( 1912634 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @02:02PM (#50526489)

    Aerojet-Rocketdyne just offered to buy ULA. ULA was planning on using Blue Origin's BE-4 engine for their upcoming Vulcan rocket, but if the AR purchase goes through there's no way the Vulcan will use anything but AR engines. Or maybe they'll just re-engine Atlas V with an AR replacement for the Russian RD-180 engine.

    So I'm reading this as Bezos deciding that if ULA goes to AR, he's going to build his own BE-4 based rocket, with blackjack and hookers. If that pans out, we could have a pretty competitive landscape - BO vs SpaceX vs ULA/AR.

    The question is if the launch market can support that many competitors, or if new customers will start to emerge. Historically we've only seen a market for a dozen or so yearly launches for this class of rocket, and if prices stay the same I don't imagine that will change much. We can root for a pricewar between Musk and Bezos which would expand the market, but that's a pretty rough prospect for ULA which does things the old, expensive way, and actually needs to turn a profit since there isn't a billionaire waiting in the wings to write them checks as needed.

    • It's not a bad idea. After all, I hear hookers have a very high lift to thrust ratio...
    • he's going to build his own BE-4 based rocket, with blackjack and hookers.

      That sounds like an awesome rocket. Where do I sign up?

      And do I need to bring my own single malt and cocaine?

    • Aerojet-Rocketdyne just offered to buy ULA. ULA was planning on using Blue Origin's BE-4 engine for their upcoming Vulcan rocket, but if the AR purchase goes through there's no way the Vulcan will use anything but AR engines. Or maybe they'll just re-engine Atlas V with an AR replacement for the Russian RD-180 engine.

      If AR actually buys ULA, the future competitiveness of ULA's vehicle will go down the drain. This would be very good news to SpaceX and BO!

  • Amazon is obviously getting pretty serious about their Guaranteed Delivery Dates.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @02:45PM (#50526849)

    Bezos said the company hopes to launch people from Exploration Park later this decade.

    Someone needs to remind Jeff that launching people is the easy part. In fact when you sit people on top of that much rocket fuel, it's pretty hard NOT to launch them. Getting them to where they need to in one piece, however. Well that's tricky.

    • by MrKaos ( 858439 )

      Bezos said the company hopes to launch people from Exploration Park later this decade.

      Someone needs to remind Jeff that launching people is the easy part. In fact when you sit people on top of that much rocket fuel, it's pretty hard NOT to launch them. Getting them to where they need to in one piece, however. Well that's tricky.

      Well it's debatable whether it would matter to Bezos if they lost a crew from the way Amazon works.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd. - Voltaire

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