Blue Origin – A Profile of This Emerging Space Company
Blue Origin is a space company founded by Jeff Bezos. This name isn’t unknown in the business world. In fact, it’s the name of an excellent and esteemed businessman. Bezos was the individual who came up with the idea for Amazon, a global online marketplace that’s almost synonymous with shopping online today. He’s also one of the richest person’s in the world and depending on stock market values at times is the richest.
Now that Bezos is a wealthy and influential person in his own right, he has the opportunity to make many of his ideas a reality. This is why he’s also founded Blue Origin, a company that’s looking into space travel and how one can make it available to the masses.
Many people might still not understand what Blue Origin is all about. Learning about it now could prove quite useful in the future, as this company could very well change everything about space travel n a short period of time. Let’s take a look at some interesting information about Blue Origin below:
Blue Origin and NASA
When most Americans hear of space travel, they immediately think of NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Agency. However, NASA is a federal agency and receives funding from the United States government through the federal budget. There are many private organizations working with the space community as well.
Blue Origin is one of these private organizations, with Jeff Bezos starting it in 2000. Under the Space Act Agreement, this company will be working closely alongside NASA. Their main projects include the Launch Abort Systems and the Commercial Crew Development.
Starting of Blue Origin
While Blue Origin was officially started in the year 2000, it began as a secret. It wasn’t until 2003 that the company came into public notice. This was partly due to its activity in Texas where it was purchasing a large amount of land. Blue Origin’s main facility is near Kent in Washington, including the R&D (research and development) facilities. They’ve expanded their premises to around 165,000 acres with the land in Texas by now. The facilities in that area also include a launch pad.
The aim of Jeff Bezos was to reuse the parts of spacecraft that are usually wasted during a launch. According to his reasoning, the part of the rocket that actually went into space was worth only a fraction of the whole craft, with the rest being discarded after the launch. If the extra parts could be salvaged, the cost of space travel could possibly be reduced a hundred times or even more.
To this end, the company Blue Origin is researching and developing New Shepard, a launch vehicle that’s reusable. It’s supposed to be a manned vehicle with vertical takeoff and vertical landing. The mission here is to provide suborbital space tourism. It’s also meant to facilitate researchers who haven’t been able to conduct experiment within space shuttles. As many space experiments require that one be in suborbital space, the New Shepard rocket promises to be of great value.
The New Shepard also includes a pressurized Crew Capsule and a Propulsion Module for housing experiments. The goal is to have these two components rise to a certain point above the earth’s surface. here, they’d separate and come back to the land undamaged. Blue Origin will then recover and reuse them.
The testing so far is going well for Blue Origin. Some Pad Escape tests have proven successful, as has been launching one Crew Capsule using a simulator.
As Blue Origin wants to make space travel affordable for everyone, it has to look at reusing parts first. This is why they starting the engine testing for an RBS (Reusable Booster System) vehicle in 2012. The engine had a capacity of around 100,000 pounds and a liquid hydrogen rocket engine. The successful firing was conducted in NASA’s test facility.
Expectations and Partnership
The original expectations of Jeff Bezos about space travel were quite modest. In 2005, he admitted that it could take many years for the Blue Origin project to take off and have an actual economic impact. However, there have been many technological successes since then, with the result being a possibly high economic impact.
Expectations of each vehicle tested have also increased, with the New Shepard having at least three versions till date. Now Blue Origin hopes to be selling commercial tickets for flights on New Shepard very soon. The first crewed testing flight is planned to occur in 2019.
The successful launches and high expectations mean that the partnership between Blue Origin and NASA is still going strong. These two organizations are also expected to work together in the future on more projects in this line and others.
Reasons for Space Travel
Jeff Bezos has also gone public with the reason as to why he’s trying to make space travel affordable. He stated that his work is inspired by the first landing on the moon, a point when he was just five years old. Since then, though, he maintains that space travel hasn’t been too impressive. It requires millions of dollars and wastes a lot of resources for little profit other than exploring the wonders of space.
However, Bezos also believe that there’s a lot of energy and other resources to be found within the solar system. This could greatly help future generations, but it won’t be of any use until someone worked on reducing the high cost of traveling in space. If the cost were accessible, Bezos believes that the next generation could become entrepreneurs in space.
The matter of space travel might have been a distant dream for most people, but it might just be within the reach of the coming generations.
Jeff Bezos is worth around $162 billion, which he plans to use in funding this spacecraft technology research for Blue Origin. We may think of it as his way of building the transportation that was already laid when Amazon came on the scene. Without this, Amazon wouldn’t have been the success it is today. It’s commendable that Bezos is making such a great effort for future innovations and services. Of course, it remains to be seen how successful it actually is.