Skip to main content
42 votes
Accepted

Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

First of all, it should be clear that this infographic is by no means objective; it's designed to put SS2 in the worst possible light, and New Shepard in the best. That said, an "escape system&...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Why does Blue Origin "like landing on a moving ship"?

A moving ship can use stabilizers to reduce roll. Stabilizers are underwater wings that need to move relative to the water for them to work. Ship stabilizers are fins or rotors mounted beneath the ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
18 votes
Accepted

Why does the BE-4 use methane as fuel?

Reusability is the big factor. Kerosene engines have issues with "coking", where solid carbon is deposited throughout the engine's pipes. (See this dissertation and its supporting research for more ...
DylanSp's user avatar
  • 1,958
16 votes
Accepted

Why does Blue Origin land the crew capsule separate from the booster?

It would be extremely unstable. There are 2 things that weight a lot on an empty rocket, the capsule and the engine. With the two of them on opposite sides, the rocket would become extremely unstable. ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
15 votes
Accepted

Do Blue Origin's BE-3 engines need to run for 7 seconds to "warm up"?

The startup of the BE-3 is slower because it uses the Tap-Off cycle. Hot gas from the main combustion chamber is tapped off to run the twin turbines that power the fuel (LH2) and oxidizer (LOX) ...
coypu76's user avatar
  • 166
14 votes

Why two engines on stage 2 of New Glenn if it's disposable?

In 2015-2016, the New Glenn design was expected to use a single BE-4 methane-LOX engine on the second stage (about 2400kN thrust), and a single BE-3 (the same as the suborbital New Shepard's single ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
12 votes

Is Blue Origin redundant?

Blue Origin and SpaceX have two very different goals. They also have very different development philosophies. Blue Origin's goal is to move loud, polluting, dirty, and otherwise undesirable heavy ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
10 votes

Which launch system, New Glenn or Falcon 9, has received more government subsidies?

I don't care to enter the fray of what is a subsidy, etc. but Parabolic Arc recently published a nice summary of what has been spent (or contracted for) by NASA on the commercial contracts to date. (...
Organic Marble's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What happens to Blue Origin's New Shepard capsule if their one engine fails?

The capsule is equipped with a Launch Escape System capable of aborting from pad or in-flight. The pad abort was already tested in 2012: http://www.nasa.gov/...
jkavalik's user avatar
  • 5,128
9 votes
Accepted

What is the cause of the blue light from LH2/LOX rocket engines?

As pointed out by @Thomas, this nice thesis Radiation from High Pressure Hydrogen-Oxygen Flames and its Use in Assessing Rocket Combustion Instability - Ph. D. Thesis, Fiala, T., 2015 discusses this ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
9 votes
Accepted

Why does the BE-3 use hydrogen as fuel?

Blue Origin (BO) chosed LH2 for BE-3 rocket engine because of the performance. "Performance drove the decision to use hydrogen fuel in the BE-3," said Rob Meyerson in an interview in 2013, ...
Mark777's user avatar
  • 2,145
9 votes
Accepted

Will Richard Branson be setting any space firsts by beating Jeff Bezos' launch date?

Richard Branson will be there first person launched into space* on a rocket he owns/built**. *The 80km altitude he will reach is a contested definition of space. **The rocket is owned/built by the ...
Eric G's user avatar
  • 206
9 votes

Why does Blue Origin claim Virgin Galactic's spaceplane doesn’t have an escape system whereas Virgin Galactic's passengers are wearing parachutes?

Because this isn't an informational infographic. This is an ad. And, as such, it is deliberately skewed to paint the advertised product in the best possible light, while disparaging the competing ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
9 votes

Hard (15mph) landing, no retrorockets fired?

The live stream shows clear evidence of the retro rockets firing (they don't fire for long, nor do they have to): Notably, see the dust cloud form before there is ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
7 votes

Why does the BE-4 use methane as fuel?

Let's look at Wikipedia for possible liquid rocket fuels. The key item is the Exhaust Velocity. Let's remove any that could be toxic, so no Beryllium, Florine, or Boron, despite the fact that each ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
7 votes

Is Blue Origin redundant?

Is Blue Origin redundant? That's the intent. Both NASA and the Department of Defense want multiple providers for their launch systems. When there's only one provider for a given item, that one ...
David Hammen's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Will the New Shepard be able to sit for long holds when filled with passengers?

LOX and LH2 tanks that are boiling from equilibrium can be replenished via umbilicals. You can see one here: In some launch videos, it can be seen to detach right around engine start time. This lets ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
6 votes

Why does Blue Origin land the crew capsule separate from the booster?

There's 2 major reasons: safety and practicality Safety: If you look at the history of booster landings it is not a proven technology, the reliability is not good enough for safety. Don't get me ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 20.3k
6 votes

What kind of badge will tourists who performed a sub-orbital spaceflight receive?

We don't know yet. The closest we have come is Beth Moses who flew as a "test passenger" in VSS Unity VF-01 and became the first non-pilot and the first woman to be awarded the FAA ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
5 votes

What are the pods on stage 1 of Blue Origin's New Glenn?

Based on other promotional images of New Glenn that show it from different angles, they would appear to be fins: (Note how the edge appears to be sharp, suggesting a thin shape) (source)
ThatCoolCoder's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

How would vertical landing scale with size - does bigger = "easier" (actually)?

The mass of a pendulum doesn't affect its period, but the length does; the longer your rocket, the slower it will tip (in degrees-per-second) while off-balance, and the more time you have to ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Could a shiny metallic fairing have some engineering advantage? Disadvantage?

One advantage is mass savings if you don't need to coat the surface with something else (or if that "something else" is lighter than the matte white paint would be). The most obvious example where we ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
4 votes
Accepted

How are New Shepard's tilting fins and gimbaling nozzle used together (or separately) to control the rocket?

According to the Blue Origin publicity web site https://www.blueorigin.com/new-shepard/ , the aft fin hydraulics are effective up to mach 4 (altitude isn't specified, but actual max is [remember it's ...
amI's user avatar
  • 720
4 votes
Accepted

New Glenn Rocket Assembly: Horizontal or Vertical?

Blue Origin's manufacturing facility in Florida is already built and built horizontally for New Glenn: Also, their launch pad SLC-36 has what looks like a horizontal hangar (similar to what Space-X ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Does the US government plan to issue "Astronaut Wings" for anyone passing 80 km forever?

Does the US government plan to issue “Astronaut Wings” for anyone passing 80 km forever? No. From https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2021/07/22/us/faa-changes-astronaut-wings-scn/index.html (mirror): FAA ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

If Artemis 1 fails, will it be the end of the program?

Disclaimer: Opinion Personally, I think the Artemis program, or more specifically the "Artemis" Brand, has grown To Big To Fail. It's not just SLS: its also Orion, SpaceX's Lander, Lunar ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.2k
3 votes

How are New Shepard's tilting fins and gimbaling nozzle used together (or separately) to control the rocket?

It's worth noting this is rather unique as its requried to be aerodynamically stable when going forwards and backwards. This is tricky as the centre-of-lift/pressure has to be 'behind' the centre of ...
drjpizzle's user avatar
  • 349
3 votes

Why does the BE-3 use hydrogen as fuel?

It appears that Blue Origin's New Glenn 3-stage rocket will be using a variant of the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 for its upper stage engine, which makes a great deal of sense -- enough that we can assume it ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Will the New Glenn have grid fins? Why or why not?

The Falcon 9's grid fins exist to solve a particular problem: Control during engines-first descent. Aerodynamic stability during that phase comes from having the center of mass well below/ahead of ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible