Cool Alert

The design and operational concept for the Jeff Bezos-funded Blue Origin private spacecraft has been announced:

Blue Origin’s spaceship is patterned after Department of Defense/NASA work on the single-stage vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) and Delta Clipper Experimental Advanced (DC-XA). It was repeatedly flown in 1993-1996 at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Among a list of distinctions, a 26-hour turnaround was achieved between the DC-XA’s second and third flights – a first for any rocket. The flight program ended in July 1996 with the DC-XA suffering severe damage due to a landing strut


6 Responses to “Cool Alert”

  1. Robin Goodfellow Says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth.

    Out effing standing.

    It’s good to see that there is a growing population of people in the aerospace industry who have more than a lick of sense. Space Ship 2 (and 2+), Xerus, and the DC-X derivative make for an excellent, more than excellent, group to compete for opening up manned space flight to private enterprise.

  2. Gabe J Says:

    I completely agree with you, I have felt for years that teh Air Force Rocket Programs have been greatly underfunded, and don’t get the respect they deserve in teh scientific community.

    The Earth’s gonna run out, people! and you’ll be glad we spent the money then.

  3. porkopolitan Says:

    I remember watching news coverage of the Clipper’s first flight. I was literally bouncing in my chair as I watched that little darlin’ inch its way to a vertical 4-point touchdown. Yowzer!

  4. richard mcenroe Says:

    But, but… where’s the Dean Drive rotator arm? Where’s the Zero Point Energy Module? Call that a spaceship…

  5. Lee Valentine Says:

    In re Orbiting New Jersey, you have made an error of a factor of one thousand in your BOTE calculation. The area required to deliver one magawatt (10^6 watts) is 136,000 square feet. That would be a square about 370 feet on a side.

    It appears the mistake was in confusing megawatts with gigawatts. A megawatt is one thousand kilowatts, NOT one million Kilowatts. (kilo=10^3, mega=10^6, giga=10^9) One million kilowatts (1 Gigawatt) is enough to run a moderate sized city. Unfortunately, the error means that the estimate of the area required for a 1.778 gigawatt plant is too large by a factor of 1,000. The area is actually about 8.7 square miles, while the sun shines. In actuality, you would need several times that area to compensate for clouds and haze and night. The correction factor for New Jersey is about eight, so about seventy square miles of solar cells would be required. Just the size of Newark, not the whole state.

    This correction factor (~8) is interesting since is illustrates the superiority of siting a solar energy plant in high orbit, where the sun shines continuously. If you then use well known and efficient energy transmission technology to deliver the energy to the Earth from high orbit you save that factor as well as the(very)large cost of electric storage.

    The nascent cheap launch technology you discuss in this post may soon lead to economic viability for satellite solar power, SSP, as an eternal energy source. But not if the satellites are as large New Jersey.;-)

    I very much enjoy your site and hope you’ll correct the previous post.

    Best regards, Lee Valentine, Exec. V.P., Space Studies Institute, Princeton

  6. Will Collier Says:

    Thanks for the red pen work, Lee. Please see the original post for the correction.

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