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Space Businesses Moon NASA

Jeff Bezos' Spaceflight Company Blue Origin Gets Its First Paying Customer ( 32

Long-time Slashdot reader nickovs writes: Blue Origin was started as a "moon shot" company by Jeff Bezos and recently claimed that it would be offering an "Amazon-like" delivery service to the moon by 2020. In the mean time it seems their customers will be slightly closer to Earth: this week they announced that they now have a paying customer in the form of the satellite TV company Eutelsat. While this isn't a huge technical milestone, it is a major business milestone, turning Blue Origin from a hobby business into one which might eventually make a profit. According to a New York Times article, "The commercial partnership brings Blue Origin closer in line with SpaceX, created by Elon Musk, which has been launching satellites and taking NASA cargo to the International Space Station for several years."
Meanwhile, SpaceX announced last week that two space tourists have already put down "a significant deposit" for a week-long trip around the moon at the end of 2018, adding "Other flight teams have also expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow."
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Jeff Bezos' Spaceflight Company Blue Origin Gets Its First Paying Customer

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  • put down "a significant deposit"

    Huh huh. Heh heh.

  • Space tourism is incredibly cool, but I can't help wonder what'll happen the first time someone is killed by it.
    • People pay big bucks to climb Mount Everest and die on a regular basis. Don't see why it should be different for space.

      • It is different, though. I don't know why it's different, but every time somebody dies in space it means nobody else can fly for years. Perhaps Everest is allowed to kill because people feel there's nothing you can do about nature, while they expect perfection from tech?

    • Its only slightly mire than a hundred years since people were saying the same thing about powered flight...

      And yes, people died but we didn't stop flying. There hasn't been a year since without a single commercial passenger death, but the commercial airline business continues on just fine.

      • The difference is that airplanes have a much bigger engineering margin than rockets.

        • Right now, that is correct...

          • True, but with basically zero progress in the last half century I'm not expecting any miracles.

          • Actually, it's not even true. Wikipedia at least reports that airplanes tend to have a factor of safety of about 1.5, with main landing gear sometimes going down to 1.25, while SpaceX's Falcon line of vehicles was designed for an overall factor of safety of 1.4. So if there's a "much bigger engineering margin", I don't see it.
        • by hawk ( 1151 )

          In the mid-80s, my older engineering professors commented that *their* professors refused to get on airplanes for that reason: "normal" engineering tolerance was 300%-400%, and planes were 10% to 15% . . .


      • Your point would have been valid if Wernher von Braun invented space tourism half a century ago while the world still looked up to astronauts as heroes made of the right stuff. But now in the social media age, everything gets blown out of proportion. The airplane industry has the advantage because banning all flights after a terrorist incident would have serious consequences for the world economy. At most flights get suspended for a day while the concerned government agencies perform their usual security th
        • On the other hand, banning human space flight would make only a few multimillionaires cry while some committee finishes its report.

          And all the SLS and Orion lobbyists. And all the scientists involved. Etc. etc.

      • by idji ( 984038 )
        go and read [], there is no difference. They faced difficulty and skepticism and Orville died in a crash, but we still have planes today.
  • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @04:02PM (#54019303)
    A week in a dragon capsule orbiting the moon, as cool as it would be... would seem like a very long time. Claustrophobia is one thing... but just wanting to go outside for a walk or something...
    • Ever heard of the thing called space walk? Now that would be way cooler. Imagine walking faster than superman flying faster than a speeding bullet. Of course, relative to the capsule, you'd just be taking a stroll in the hall outside your jail cell but, still, this could be a major selling point to the lucky space traveler.
      • Easy. I'm just walking faster than Superman relative to exoplantets right now. Hell, even relative to other planets of our solar system.
  • Hmm, they've got a contract to start putting up these satellites in five years (notably two years AFTER they say they'll have the ability to deliver stuff to the Moon).

    Starting to put stuff into orbit in five years isn't in the timezone of SpaceX, which has been putting things up for several years....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Closer in line as in putting up commercial comsats, which has not been a focus of theirs of late. Five years is that particular contract, not their launch capabilities in general.
      Taking 10 years to really develop a set of technologies can be a good thing. Long-term, my money is on Blue Origin.

  • This is about orbital satellite launches. I'm wondering if people have stopped reading at least the article they're commenting on?

    BO is developing an orbital heavy lift launcher and they have sold their first payload. They're also developing the engines for ULA's new lancher with first full-scale tests later this year.

    Blue Origin are slower than SpaceX, but they're not just toying around.

    • This is about orbital satellite launches. I'm wondering if people have stopped reading at least the article they're commenting on?

      Hi, welcome to Slashdot, Nudes for Nerds!

      No one reads the original article, most don't even read the summary, and a select elite few don't even read the post that they respond to.

  • Blue Origins has not even flown a single orbital mission, so I think launching a satellite is still quite a long way off. Going up and down is a whole different beast than going orbital.

No amount of careful planning will ever replace dumb luck.