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Blue Origin - Booster Reuse - New Shepard

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
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Jan 31, 2012
6,793
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Well done B.O.

Some interesting things:

1. The rocket cleared the tower at 9+ seconds. It looked like the hold down happened until 5 seconds before release.
2. It would have been a very wild ride inside the capsule when it boosted away from the booster. It was nowhere near as stable as the Dragon 2. That said, in an emergency, the key is to get away and it did that successfully. It looked completely survivable if an emergency had happened. Maybe there is room for improvement in the capsule stability.
3. The broadcasters mentioned the landing pad is two miles from the launch site.
4. The booster had a clear tilt in this landing. Maybe the booster hit a little hard compared to other landings. I'm sure it is still reusable if they intended to reuse it.
5. They said this is the fifth and final flight of this booster. The new boosters and capsules have been improved. We'll see if this booster ends up in front of their factory like the SpaceX booster. Or maybe parked out in front of the Amazon headquarters. It is small enough that it shouldn't have any FAA issues.

There is a clear difference in the broadcast tone compared to SpaceX. SpaceX is about teaching people about what they are seeing and the excitement comes across as very real. These broadcasts have more of a selling feel to them. Which makes sense since they will be selling rides on the rocket and capsule.

Great job.
 
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...

There is a clear difference in the broadcast tone compared to SpaceX. SpaceX is about teaching people about what they are seeing and the excitement comes across as very real. These broadcasts have more of a selling feel to them. Which makes sense since they will be selling rides on the rocket and capsule..


I noticed the sales pitch feel of the commentary when watching also.
 

evp

Nerd
Supporting Member
Nov 28, 2014
821
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Arvada, CO
It seems that Blue Origin has successfully performed VTOL of reusable rockets, beating SpaceX to land a used rocket.

Jeff Bezos beats Elon Musks SpaceX in the reusable rocket race

One point of note is the much slower speed of the Blue Origin rocket - could the BO rocket deliver payloads at the lower speeds noted in the article? Or was that just a test and they'd have to go much faster?

To me, it would be logical that spacecraft would need the faster speeds to drive payloads and that the slower speed couldn't be used for anything other than a test?

(Asking as a completely clueless but interested observer...)

The New Shepard is designed to "just barely" make it into space. For about 5 minutes, right at the top of its trajectory. That is, of course, a major accomplishment, and they should be justifiably proud. They should also be proud that their rocket survived separation from the capsule at Max-Q (the period where aerodynamic forces on the stack are highest, finished its trip to space and then landed safely. And Jeff has indeed flown the same rocket 5 times in a row, while Elon has recovered 5 rockets but has yet to refly any of them.

But -- To get into space, you only need to achieve 5,000 miles per hour straight up. To get into orbit, you need to do 17,500 mph up and sideways. The rocket equation delta vee = Ve * ln(Mo/Mf) says that Blue Origin's mass ratio is about 2.1 -- about half the mass of the stack is fuel. For SpaceX, the ratio is over 13 -- only about 7% of the total mass is rocket and payload, the other 93% is fuel. It's a completely different degree of difficulty.
 
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ggr

Expert in Dunning-Kruger Effect!
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Mar 24, 2011
7,237
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San Diego, CA
The New Shepard is designed to "just barely" make it into space. For about 5 minutes, right at the top of its trajectory. That is, of course, a major accomplishment, and they should be justifiably proud. They should also be proud that their rocket survived separation from the capsule at Max-Q (the period where aerodynamic forces on the stack are highest, finished its trip to space and then landed safely. And Jeff has indeed flown the same rocket 5 times in a row, while Elon has recovered 5 rockets but has yet to refly any of them.

But -- To get into space, you only need to achieve 5,000 miles per hour straight up. To get into orbit, you need to do 17,500 mph up and sideways. The rocket equation delta vee = Ve * ln(Mo/Mf) says that Blue Origin's mass ratio is about 2.1 -- about half the mass of the stack is fuel. For SpaceX, the ratio is over 13 -- only about 7% of the total mass is rocket and payload, the other 93% is fuel. It's a completely different degree of difficulty.
Going straight up, you don't need any particular velocity. If you are prepared to waste a lot of fuel, and accelerate slowly, you can get there without even breaking the speed of sound. I think (but haven't checked) that 5,000 mph is the velocity you need if you want to coast all the rest of the way. From the (unedited) live video, which had the small window with velocity in it, I don't think New Shepard ever got anywhere near 5000 mph (again from flaky memory).
 

jkn

Member
Nov 29, 2013
504
331
EU
Density of Propellant.

LH 70.8 kg/m^3
CH-4 423 kg/m^3
RP-1 820 kg/m^3
LOX 1140 kg/m^3

So basically the methane engines on the New Glenn use fuel(Methane CH-4) that is about 50% less dense than the RP1 that F9 uses.

Smaller differences, if you don't forget LOX:

LH + LOX 1:5 324 kg/m^3
1:6 361 kg/m^3
CH-4 + LOX 1:4 851 kg/m^3
RP-1 + LOX 1:2.56 1027 kg/m^3
Hopefully my math is correct.

Also if propellant has higher ISP, you need less of it. Unfortunately for H2: If tank is heavier, you need more to lift it. This gets too complex...
 
Going straight up, you don't need any particular velocity. If you are prepared to waste a lot of fuel, and accelerate slowly, you can get there without even breaking the speed of sound. I think (but haven't checked) that 5,000 mph is the velocity you need if you want to coast all the rest of the way. From the (unedited) live video, which had the small window with velocity in it, I don't think New Shepard ever got anywhere near 5000 mph (again from flaky memory).

There isn't a real specific velocity to cross the Von Karman Line. The X-15 crossed it a couple of times and only topped out at around 3800Mph during maximum altitude flights. The SpaceShip One crossed the Von Karman line and was only going 2200mph.

Well done B.O.
2. It would have been a very wild ride inside the capsule when it boosted away from the booster. It was nowhere near as stable as the Dragon 2. That said, in an emergency, the key is to get away and it did that successfully. It looked completely survivable if an emergency had happened. Maybe there is room for improvement in the capsule stability.
Great job.

Keep in mind, don't compare the pad abort of the Dragon 2 to what you did see with the latest BO test. BO did the most difficult abort scenario possible, which is a abort during a flight at MAXQ, this places the most stress on the abort system and the capsule. SpaceX is planning to do similar test next year as part of it's Commercial Crew test for NASA. After that test we can compare how stable the vehicles are.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
We got to see the new rocket engine yesterday. So now we get a glimpse of the new Rocket. animated of course:
Interesting to see that BO is going with a different steerable fin design and has fixed fins at the base of the first stage.

The animation showing the stage landing ship appearing to be moving at the time of the landing was amusing.

I applaud their efforts and wish them success. But they are years behind SpaceX.
 
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scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
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NoVA
  • Deployable landing legs: check
  • Steerable fins: check
  • Animation depicting overall flight profile: check
  • Multiple smaller engine cluster arrangement: check
  • Landing on drone ship, complete with tag-line painted on deck: check
While clearly form will follow function for many things... so there will be some common concepts in design. But the level of... uh.. "paying homage" to SpaceX seems more than a tad derivative.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
The landing barges use propulsive station-keeping. If they are holding position in a location with a significant current (like the gulf stream), they will leave a wake even if they are stationary relative to GPS.
Thanks, understood. But would a 5.6mph current produce such a large wake? I wonder. (Source: How fast is the Gulf Stream? )
 

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
6,793
9,531
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Interesting to see that BO is going with a different steerable fin design and has fixed fins at the base of the first stage.

The animation showing the stage landing ship appearing to be moving at the time of the landing was amusing.

I applaud their efforts and wish them success. But they are years behind SpaceX.

I'm not sure how well their steerable fin design works compared to SpaceX's waffle fin design which works well in very different environments. Hopefully it works equally well.

It is likely that BO will land on a moving ship. The ASDS is stabilized with complex thrusters. The New Glenn will need a much larger ship and a moving ship is much more stable on the high seas. They'll just have to add in that extra variable in their landing process. considering the thousands of variables such an attempt needs to juggle adding the lateral motion shouldn't be too hard to overcome. A miss with the New Glenn booster could be a lot more damaging than an F9 booster though.

The New Glenn got a payload (Eutelsat) for launch in 2021. So years behind is quite accurate. I'm certain that BO will have a number of failures before they manage to succeed at their first successful landing. The lessons they learned from New Shepard should help a lot though. As a lot of people have mentioned in the last few years in comparing the two rockets: this is a completely new ball game compared to New Shepard.
 
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Thanks, understood. But would a 5.6mph current produce such a large wake? I wonder. (Source: How fast is the Gulf Stream? )

And here I was focusing on the fact that they came to a near hover above deck and moved laterally at near 0 vertical velocity to center the landing. I thought that was what you were talking about "moving".

SpaceX lands fast and hard. Landing slow like that animation would require huge amounts of fuel for landing, lowering the useful payload to space. Advertising that you want to hover or near hover around your landing site speaks to not being competitive on several fronts.
 
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