We've covered Blue Origin, the semi-mysterious space company founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, in the past, but we never knew all that much about what they were working on. But they recently showed off their new space vehicle, which has completed wind tunnel testing and is named, in a fit of wild creativity, the "Space Vehicle," and a little bit of their plans for the future.
Besides amateur camera-balloons, it's pretty difficult to get a viable science experiment into space. You need to buy a launch vehicle, license it, find a place to launch from, protect your payload, and get permission to actually launch, for starters. In the past, you might have partnered with NASA to do this, but it's never been easy to win federal support for a rocket or space station excursion, and it's about to get even harder after the space shuttles retire this summer.
But the transition away from the shuttle is promising for experimenters, as a new generation of privately built and operated spacecraft is poised to take over. The commercial space tourism industry will transform the way scientists study microgravity, offering lower prices and greater convenience than anything the government can provide. Scientists will no longer need to apply to NASA to do their experiments. Even better, they won't have to join the astronaut corps to get to space in person, a paradigm shift that could make cutting-edge research much more widely accessible.
The founder of the online retail giant is on top of his game. So when is he going to step away to focus on truly important things, like space tourism?
By Gregory MonePosted 04.16.2008 at 8:21 am 1 Comment
Fortune has an interesting profile of Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who has persisted, and seen his company grow, through the ups and downs of the dot-com economy. Presently he's worth around $8 billion, which isn't too bad. In addition to recounting his rise to prominence, the piece also details his plans to transform Amazon into the Web's biggest retailer of digital media. Hence Amazon's e-book reader, the Kindle, and the company's push into the MP3 space, where it's trying to unseat Apple as emperor. Apparently this is a pretty heated competition: According to the Fortune piece, he refuses to use the word "Apple."
In the latest bid to rocket tourists into orbit, the secretive Blue Origin unveils a flying pod. Is your space voyage sooner than you think?
By Michael StrohPosted 03.14.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
A mere three years after Burt Rutan´s SpaceShipOne skimmed the edge of space to capture the $10-million Ansari X Prize, more than half a dozen companies are furiously building and testing spacecraft designed to take paying passengers on suborbital journeys and beyond.