back to article Bezos denied: New Glenn launch pushed into 2022 after Space Force says no

What do you buy the richest man in the world? A ticket to ride on Elon Musk's rocket, judging by the latest delay announced by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin. Bezos' space biz has admitted that the maiden flight of the New Glenn rocket, an orbital-class booster, will be put off again until Q4 2022 – and made it clear this was a …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

    What's new? Private company can't/won't do shit without government backing.

    But hey! government (federal or local) must not do this or that because it's unfair competition to private sector.

    I have an idea! Let's abolish governments and let private companies run the country.

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

      I have an idea! Let's abolish governments and let private companies run the country.

      East India Company!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        I knew I should have used the sarcasm tag

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

      I have an idea! Let's abolish governments and let private companiesthe old school tie run the country.

      1. bryces666

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        I thought America was run by private companies as they have so much sway and seem tightly bound in with the government (especially when Republicans hold power) , you don't see a lot of policy in US that is for the ordinary person.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          "(especially when Republicans hold power)"

          Indeed, now that the Dems hold the Presidency, the Senate and the House, we should see $2,000 relief (sorry: I mean STIMULUS) cheques heading out the door. As soon as Biden is done bombing Syria and stealing their oil. What? There's (probably) nothing in the Paris Accord to prevent it!

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        So no change in the UK then.

      3. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        Ah yes. Cameron and Bojo.

        And that's going well (for them).

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

      It's not so much government funding as customers with deep enough pockets to pay for a large, even if re-usable, launch vehicle needed for very large payloads. There are currently few if any commercial customers wanting to launch large payloads into higher orbits that New Glenn is intended for.

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        But that just proves how short sighted they are. If I had a launch vehicle capable of lifting large payloads into orbit and beyond, and the financial means of Bezos, I'd start planning and lifting the parts for a privately operated space station between the earth and the moon. Some big flash, spinning number with red recliners looking out over the earth. If that didn't make money hand over fist down the road, nothing will.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          "Some big flash, spinning number with red recliners looking out over the earth. If that didn't make money hand over fist down the road, nothing will."

          Not enough potential customers for a purely private venture. It a government or group of countries set up a base on the Moon and research done showed the possibility of making something, likely semiconductors, better, faster and cheaper, private companies would trip over themselves investing in space programs and factories in the moon. Tourism would be a side hustle. I don't see Virgin Galactic as being a long term viable company. You have to start with the small number of people that could afford the trip, narrow that number down to the people that would want to go, subtract the people that won't pass a medical review and then work out how many of that really small pool would want to go more than once. One can take the family to a Disney theme park 2, maybe 3, times for the same amount of money.

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

            Why do you assume a privately run space station would only cater to tourists?

            Tourism would be a part of it, for sure, and the market is far larger than you seem to think. As with a lot of things, richer customers would subsidise tickets for poorer ones. The cost of launches/tickets would be substantially lower with Starship style shuttles for example with seating for a hundred or so passengers.

            But outside of pure tourism, a larger space station could be a staging point for moon and mars missions. (Even more so when colonies start appearing in the near future.) It could be a more accessible science research facility - a multi-ring shaped configuration with various levels of artificial gravity* could offer a lot more than the only none-at-all option available on the ISS today.

            And I'm sure more than a few people would be interested in living permanently in space too.

            * You'd have to start with a smaller station, obviously, that would be initially limited, but if it were designed so it could be extended outwards radially piece by piece to a final radius of 1km, you would get approximately 1g at 1rpm on the outer ring(s).

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        So why build it? If there are so few customers that SpaceX has them all tied up why build a rocket to compete with SpaceX at all?

        The whole thing is weak sauce. New Glenn is not an orbital-class booster, it has never been to orbit! It is an orbital hopeful booster.

        Don't even get me started on Virgin's Doesn'tGoToSpaceShipTwo.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          I can't figure out what Virgin Galactic is for.

          It's clearly not for sending people into orbit or they would have done that already. I assume it's some kind of tax dodge, but I can't figure out that would make money.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

            It's just a proof of concept. The concept that a fool and his money are easily parted.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          "New Glenn is not an orbital-class booster, it has never been to orbit! It is an orbital hopeful booster."

          It's orbital class, but unflown.

          Starship is also orbital class, but unflown (I mean the whole stack as opposed to just the starship which has at least had prototypes doing short and medium hops, with more than some success and also visually appealing RUDs).

          Two very different approaches to the engineering as well from what I can tell. I'm not sure what the drive is behind Bezos' efforts. We know what Musk wants to do, he wants to make humanity multiplanetary, but I imagine Bezos might only see issues with maintaining next day delivery... (Yes, I know that it's rarely next day any more, and that retail is probably not the largest arm of Amazon anyway)

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          " New Glenn is not an orbital-class booster, it has never been to orbit! It is an orbital hopeful booster."

          It hasn't been built and tested yet. It Will be an orbital class vehicle when they do build it. New Shepperd is the sub-orbital class vehicle that BO has flown many times.

      3. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        Just wait until someone makes money mining asteroids.

        Then we'll all want one.

        I'm thinking human behaviour mimicking this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canal_Mania

    4. Gary Stewart

      Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

      "I have an idea! Let's abolish governments and let private companies run the country."

      You load 16 tons, what do you get?

      Another day older and deeper in debt

      St. Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go

      I owe my soul to the company store

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        You load 16 tons, what do you get?

        Dirty. Headed for the Biz bag.

      2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        Wow, Gary, wait until you get a load of "The Big Reset". It's "company" all the way down!

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        "You load 16 tons, what do you get?"

        Bow-legged britches and a humpback shirt,

        St Peter don't you holler for me today,

        'cos I'm a-digging the other way.

        (With thanks to Homer and Jethro)

    5. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

      "What's new? Private company can't/won't do shit without government backing."

      Governments are the biggest purchasers of launch services. BO isn't saying that they can't finish New Glenn, they are saying it will take longer to do on spec with no guaranteed work for it. If New Sheppard starts earning revenue, maybe there will be more money to throw at New Glenn. The sub-orbital flights Blue Origin have done have looked really clean while SpaceX's Starship have been a hot mess. (I used to work on rockets, but not at either company).

      In the US, NASA and other agencies do not build their own rockets. They head up projects and hire companies to build to spec or use existing vehicles. The Saturn V and Shuttle were built to a NASA design, but everything else has gone up on stock vehicles.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        "The sub-orbital flights Blue Origin have done have looked really clean while SpaceX's Starship have been a hot mess."

        It's worth noting (or clarifying) that Starship as we have seen it so far is the payload, not the launch vehicle. They shove a few engines in it simply to get it high enough up to be able to test the unusual method of slowing down for a landing.

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues
          Boffin

          Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

          "It's worth noting (or clarifying) that Starship as we have seen it so far is the payload, not the launch vehicle."

          Almost. The Starships are the second stage. They do carry the payload, and they do return to Earth - but they are a second stage.

          They are expected to have 6 engines, when ready: 3 to atmosphere and 3 to vacuum. It may very well change in the future, as we are in the early stages - but up until now...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

            Thanks for the correction :-)

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

            It doesn't help that super heavy + starship is also called starship.

            I note that New Glenn doesn't plan to reuse the second stage either (or didn't last time I checked).

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: in the absence of those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars

        "The sub-orbital flights Blue Origin have done have looked really clean while SpaceX's Starship have been a hot mess. (I used to work on rockets, but not at either company)."

        A hot mess?

        They've run through a very different testing process than we've seen in a very long time - doing something on a scale that hasn't been seen for basically as long.

        They've had a few RUD events, but actually SN8 and SN9 managed much more than basically anyone expected - and prototype failure is generally far more instructive than success.

        Comparing the hops blue origin have done with the starship hops also rather ignores the different things those two vehicles are designed for. The New Shephard very nearly fits in the fairing of a Falcon 9 (it's fractionally too long, but you could probably put three in there width wise). Starship could fit a dozen of them in it's cargo space...

        New Glenn however, well, not even a prototype has been properly seen yet - and yes I get that this is due a very different approach to the engineering cycle... test, fail, improve isn't in the BO playbook.

        But BO haven't yet launched anything to orbit. If they manage a 2022 launch and perfect landing then I'd be both surprised and impressed.

  2. JDPower Bronze badge

    Correction "Space Force named as scapegoat for Blue Origins continued lack of getting anything meaningful done"

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Dog ate homework

      Double definitely yes. Space Force is small compared to Kuiper.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Khaaaan Spaaaace Foooorce!

  3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    No mention of virgin orbit's successful launch of their rocket in January?

  4. Esme

    If I had Bezos' money

    I'd shrug at the failure to get that contract, and start talking (if I hadn't already) to companies like Bigelow, with a view to creating the first rotating space habitat so that the effects of very low simulated gravity. Currently, we have lots of data on the effects of 1G on living organisms, and some data on 0G, but none for any values between 0 and 1. Questions like "how much gravity is sufficient for human heath?" need to be answered, and the only way to do so is to create something in orbit that is habitable, that spins.

    Even if the first spinning space station (Maybe a couple of Bigelow habs with a docking port in the middle?) was only able to simulate 0.01G, it'd be highly useful, as we could find out how that affects plant growth, and does it make any measurable difference to the problems that 0G causes humans? Over time, as larger and larger space stations become practical to bud, the effects of higher and higher simulated fractional gravity could be investigated. A great many researchers would be VERY interested in doing that sort of research,

    I'd also speak to the British Interplanetary Society about their Scorpion ship design. First company to build something like that could well make a fortune in hauling infrastructure (whether to and from the Moon or asteroids) and on contracts for crewed deep-space exploration missions. I'd happily sink some personal money into all the above if I had Bezos' money. Call me financially naieve if you will (it'd be true!) but I don't understand why failure to get that contract would delay a first launch of New Glenn at all. Surely is first test launch would be good advertising , if successful, and would get people starting to think about what they could do with the capability of putting that much mass nto spce?

    That sad - I loathe Bezos for the way Amazon workers are treated. On the one hand , yaay, ore big reusable spaceships! On the other Boo, that ones from Bezos! Gripping hand -we need better launch capability with all possible speed, to ensure we don't take another fifty years just to get humans beyond Luna.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: If I had Bezos' money

      "Even if the first spinning space station (Maybe a couple of Bigelow habs with a docking port in the middle?) was only able to simulate 0.01G, it'd be highly useful, as we could find out how that affects plant growth,"

      A nice .6G would be easier as it's nearly dead center between 0 and 1. I'm talking about a moon base, of course. The debris field around Earth is getting worse with every Starlink launch. The moon is further away, but having solid ground and possibly fewer issues with meteorites might be a good trade.

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    0G Tomatoes

    I’d imagine that zero gravity would have a number of benefits on plants such as tomatoes, they would be less likely to collapse under their own weight when full of juicy fruit.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 0G Tomatoes

      My fave tom is one called Brandywine. Looks like an elephants haemorrhoids and when its properly ripe goes soft and you have to cut it from the plant to avoid it exploding. If you leave it just a little too long it drops off and splats. In space it I could pick one when its perfectly ripe rather than 90% there. I had one which was about 3lb and it made Greek salad for two to die for.

      1. Def Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: 0G Tomatoes

        So... is there a professional aspect to your interest in elephant hemorrhoids or is it merely a hobby?

        1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: 0G Tomatoes

          Given their size maybe they should be classified as assteroids?

  6. unpale

    "the testing programme will conclude by early fall..."

    ...well let's hope it doesn't.

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