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ASK OCE — January 12, 2007 — Vol. 2, Issue 1


Blue Origin, the private space program funded by founder Jeff Bezos, executed its first low-altitude test launch from its West Texas spaceport on November 14, 2006.

Until late December, Blue Origin maintained a “no comment” policy on whether the launch even took place. Now, the company’s website has the first pictures of the Goddard spacecraft, including a full-length video of the flight in which the spacecraft rises nearly 300 feet into the air amidst a cloud of white smoke. Goddard then descends and executes a precise vertical soft landing on the same pad. The entire flight duration was approximately 40 seconds.

Over the next three years, Blue Origin which operates from the 18,600 acre West Texas Spaceport near Van Horn, Texas has said the test flights will increase in duration and altitude, culminating in as many as 52 commercial flights, possibly beginning in 2010. Goddard is the first development craft of Blue Origin’s New Shepard program. The program’s stated goal is to launch small crews of up to three astronauts on suborbital space flights by 2010.

Goddard is similar to a spacecraft developed by McDonnell Douglas for the Defense Department and NASA in the 1990s called The Delta Clipper Experimental, or DC-X.

Like Goddard, the DC-X was designed to take off and land vertically. According to the New York Times, several members of the original DC-X team now work for Bezos.

In This Issue

Message from the Chief Engineer

View from the Outside: Blue Origin Takes First (Low Altitude) Step toward Space

This Week in NASA History: Lunar Prospector

Public Support for the Vision

JPL Director Named One of ‘America’s Best Leaders’

A History of Heavy Lifting: MSFC Veteran to Head Ares V Development

Dr. Henry Pohl on the Keys to Apollo’s Success

Classics of Aerospace Literature: Inside NASA

Government Brief: GAO Calls for Better DoD Strategy for Space Acquisitions

Archimedes Archive: Kollsman’s Barometric Altimeter

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