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Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin To Offer 'Amazon-Like' Moon Delivery By 2020 (geekwire.com) 76

Less than a week after Elon Musk's SpaceX announced it would soon offer space tourists a cruise around the moon, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos has announced that he would be launching an Amazon-like service shipping supplies, experiments, and crew to the Moon by 2020. From a report: Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin space venture has proposed sending a robotic lander to the moon's south polar region by 2020, as an initial step toward an "Amazon-like" lunar delivery system and eventually a permanently inhabited moon base. The report says the company's seven-page proposal, dated Jan. 4, has been circulating among NASA's leadership and President Donald Trump's transition team. It's only one of several proposals aimed at turning the focus of exploration beyond Earth orbit to the moon and its environs during Trump's term.
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Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin To Offer 'Amazon-Like' Moon Delivery By 2020

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  • by TWX ( 665546 )
    But what if I don't want the moon delivered to me?

    I mean, "I'll give you the moon," is just a figure of speech...
    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

      When the moon hits your eye...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nobody said it would be THE Moon you'd be receiving, just A moon. You always need to read the fine print before ordering an astral body.

    • I would be over the moon if someone gave it to me.

  • Suborbital? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @03:58PM (#53971871)

    Last I checked, Blue Origin was strictly suborbital right now. Do they really expect to go from suborbital to lunar surface in only three years???

    Or are they planning on getting to Earth orbit atop someone else's boosters, and going the rest of the way on their own?

    • I'm sure you could gravity assist a package to the moon...

      ...the resulting crater would be much smaller than the average terrestrial FedEx delivery

    • RTFA, please. They will use drones to deliver your package from the suborbital shuttle to the moon. You only get your own shuttle if you have prime with same day shipping.
    • by Arkh89 ( 2870391 )

      Yeah, they are about to roll-out ICBM terrestrial delivery next week... and it's a straight road ahead after that...

    • I think the idea in this case is:

      1) Make big claim.
      2) Collect a lot of money from investors
      3) In 2060 fulfill promise a little late.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@w[ ]d3.net ['orl' in gap]> on Friday March 03, 2017 @05:08PM (#53972353) Homepage Journal

      They mean they will crash a cardboard packet full of crap you added to get free shipping, a week late and on fire, into the ISS. Then you get a note saying you weren't in but they left it with a neighbour.

    • Re:Suborbital? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phayes ( 202222 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @05:13PM (#53972387) Homepage

      This is just another one of Bezos's "MEE TOO, MEE TOO LOOOK AT MEEEE" moments because he knows that his Blue Origin realisations are far behind Space-X's and will be falling even further behind unless Space-X has another problem.
      2017 should be the year that Space-X:
      - Returns to Space with a launch every 2-3 weeks
      - Finishes and begins launching it's incremental development of Falcon-9 with Falcon-9 Block 5 with much better reusability
      - Launches FH
      - Relaunches it's first recovered first stage
      - Starts launching the Man rated Dragon-2

      Meanwhile, Blue-Origin has yet to finish it's first Orbital launcher. Bezos has always had visions of grandeur far beyond the real means of Blue Origin. This is just another example. Stop with the grandiose plans and starts launching if you want to be taken seriously.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        This is just another one of Bezos's "MEE TOO, MEE TOO LOOOK AT MEEEE" moments because he knows that his Blue Origin realisations are far behind Space-X's and will be falling even further behind

        Well when you look at Musk and his ITS rocket - only 4-5 times more powerful than the Saturn V - it looks like there's no shortage of grand plans in the space industry. Not disagreeing with you but if you're taking that jab at Bezos then Musk deserves some flak too.

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          If Space-X was saying that they would be using ITS for it's slingshot around the moon I'd agree. Unfortunately for the point you were trying to make, Space-X will be using FH & Dragon-2 which are much further along than either Blue Origin's planned New Shepard or ITS. Except for unknowable-unknowns like a supplier delivering out of spec struts and kinks in the COPV liners+ frozen oxygen having unexpected problems, Space-X hasn't misstepped since Falcon-1 so I don't see why the remaining pieces that need

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Except that Musk has Raptor engine almost fully tested and is now working on tankage. He already has avionics, and has landing down.
          But, I agree that Bezo does not deserve it either, in that, he has landing down (including ability to land on the moon), avionics, and is working on his new engine. IOW, his next launch vehicle will probably be an FH class vehicle which is PERFECT for helping to get the lunar base going.

          Windbourne (moderating).
      • Give the man a break. He does not spend his money in private jets; he uses it to follow his dream about space. He has done incredible work, reusing suborbital rocket 4 times. He is of the mentality to do one thing at time, to make slow and steady progress. Which is fine as far as I am concerned.
        And don't forget that he has a contract to build a rocket engine for the ULA. I don't think that the people in ULA are idiots, they are reasonably certain that Bezos will build the engine.
        Ok, Musk has accomplished
        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          Bezos gets a break when he talks about developing a reusable bunny hop suborbital, for BE-3 and BE-4, but [b]not[\b] when Bezos talks about missions he will be performing in 3 years with a launcher he hasn't even finished building thats 15 times bigger than anything he has flown so far. While I applaud his investment in Space he doesn't get a free pass when exaggerating the means he has to fulfil them.

        • ",,, they are reasonably certain that Bezos will build the engine."

          Jeff Bezos does not build any engines. Billionaires have to find a place to put their money. We have no way of knowing how involved Bezos is with the many companies he has funded. [wikipedia.org]
    • Last I checked, Blue Origin was strictly suborbital right now. Do they really expect to go from suborbital to lunar surface in only three years???

      Or are they planning on getting to Earth orbit atop someone else's boosters, and going the rest of the way on their own?

      Yep. ULA has tagged them to build the BE-4 [wikipedia.org] engine to allow them to compete with SpaceX.

  • It could destroy an entire city falling from that high!

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      "Fall off"? You, sir, take the short bus to the moon.

      • Nothing lasts forever
    • Or if the delivery guy decided to throw a rock towards the earth!
  • I wonder if you can get free delivery if you have Prime?

    • What about free returns?
    • Every item is considered an add-on item on the Amazon.moon website. Total purchases of add-on items must equal or surpass $5,000,000 (Moon Dollars) for free shipping.

      $1 Moon Dollar = $10 USD

    • You'll need "Prime Luna", which will probably cost about $890 million/year (but include free Terrestrial Prime for up to 10,000 friends & family members, plus unlimited one-hour(*) digital delivery to the moon of media content). If they launch monthly, shipping will be free with delivery within 2 months, $3 million for next-month, and $11 million for next-launch.

      (*) when we're finally on the moon for real, broadband internet (with high latency and frequent outages, but respectable average throughput ove

  • Is there really enough demand by the rich, or even enough rich people to justify all this?

    Any idea that sounds like Instant Jetsons usually flops, or only happens gradually.

    Paint me mega-skeptical. And, first give us (practical) flying cars for petesakes, Bezos. Why only help the rich?

  • All the deliveries I get from Amazon are via an independent delivery company (e.g. UPS, USPS, etc.) So in my mind, "amazon-like" delivery would involve contracting the work out to a 3rd party.

    • This is actually insightful, but I can't upvote b/c I have already posted a couple of stupid comments.
    • All the deliveries I get from Amazon are via an independent delivery company (e.g. UPS, USPS, etc.)

      Here in the Puget Sound area, Amazon has gradually been rolling out its own delivery service, with Amazon-hired delivery people and Amazon-branded vans. We see them pretty often nowadays.

      To me, "Amazon-like delivery" - as opposed to UPS or Fedex delivery - means the package is going to be tossed over a fence into the yard and left exposed to the rain, or sitting in the middle of the driveway where hopefully I'll notice it before backing my car over it. Or left, again exposed to the rain, below the sign sayi

  • The first half of the trip
  • Space X will launch a Solar City and Tesla like service. It will launch on exploding Lithium cells and then use Solar power to run an Electric Engine to get to the moon

  • Straight to the moon!

  • It may be technically possible to get to the Moon in three years, but it would take a truly massive investment to do so. I don't think that private entities exist that could put forward that kind of investment with little chance of return, and Republicans tend to balk at large spending increases unless they're military. I could see Trump wanting this due to his ego, but I don't think he could get congress on his side for this kind of massive endeavor.
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:24PM (#53972811)

      I remember when so many people on slashdot and reddit argued that it was impossible for a private company to launch anything into orbit because of the cost and the technical requirements were only in the scope of the largest governments like the US, Russia, Japan and China. That was maybe 7+ years ago. More recently I've read that, yeah, private companies can get to orbit, but they'll never venture beyond Earth orbit because there is no profit in it.

      .

      Once you are in orbit, you are 60% of the way to the surface of the moon (soft landing) and pretty much anywhere else in the solar system.

      • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Chalnoth ( 1334923 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:31PM (#53972837)

        It's the three year timeframe that makes it ridiculous.

        I'm not saying anything about who makes the rockets, but rather who pays for the investment. There just aren't private groups who can realistically pay the likely hundreds of billions of dollars that such a project would cost, for essentially zero commercial benefit.

        • Are there any detailed reasons why it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars? India sent an orbiter to Mars for $75million. What missing pieces have to be developed?
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Interesting)

      by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Friday March 03, 2017 @06:36PM (#53972867)

      It may be technically possible to get to the Moon in three years, but it would take a truly massive investment to do so. I don't think that private entities exist that could put forward that kind of investment with little chance of return, and Republicans tend to balk at large spending increases unless they're military. I could see Trump wanting this due to his ego, but I don't think he could get congress on his side for this kind of massive endeavor.

      My understanding is the ULA (Lockheed, Boeing, etc.) has tagged Blue Origin to provide the BE-4 engine to be their answer to a reusable vertical landing capable rocket engine the need to compete with SpaceX, and it is supposed to be ready to go in three years. That is still a bit behind similar SpaceX plans and my bet would be that their schedule will slip from planned but it's still anybodies guess how far. Blue Origin did start this rocket engine back in 2011, but didn't mention it publicly till 2014.

      • The BE-4 engine is in nowhere near the range that is likely required for manned spaceflight to the Moon.

        With the BE-4, the Vulcan rocket is planned to have a max payload to low Earth orbit somewhere in the range of 49,000 kg. The Saturn V rockets which went to the Moon had a payload to low Earth orbit of 140,000kg.

        And even if they think they have a workable plan to get humans to the Moon with far less weight, first flight in 2019 will not mean regular use in 2020.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the 60`s, it was governments being the only ones who could do this. Great to see the torch being carried on.

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