"one advantage in the Blue Origin approach may be the ability to rush into the mass market for space tourism"I'm not sure how much of a market there is for sub-orbital flights. Virgin Galactic had a flurry of sign-ups which peaked and then seemingly stayed about the same up until last years disaster. I suspect it will make people very wary about expressing a (financial) interest in Blue Origin's New Shepard. Then, of course, there's the money. What will a 4 minute free-fall trip cost? I suspect substantially less than VG as Amazon's business model seems to be run-at-a-loss.I do agree with others here that SpaceX and Blue Origin are going down separate paths to their goals (whatever BO's might be) and as such aren't seemingly competing with each other. I don't believe there'a an absolute "right" or "wrong" approach, just a search for one that works. From that perspective, both Elon and Jeff are doing the "right" thing for themselves.
The key differences between SX and BO - SX plays wide, fast, and loose accepting more losses, while BO is narrow, slow, and tight.SX fast - "well that didn't work, add grid fins in fraction of a year, it may work, oh, and add FT and half a dozen other changes in more better". Serial numbers in handfuls. BO slow - "hmm failure on booster recovery, remedy systems and take enough time to prove, possibly years, before next flight". Increment in serial number.
Quote from: Space Ghost 1962 on 11/25/2015 07:40 PMThe key differences between SX and BO - SX plays wide, fast, and loose accepting more losses, while BO is narrow, slow, and tight.SX fast - "well that didn't work, add grid fins in fraction of a year, it may work, oh, and add FT and half a dozen other changes in more better". Serial numbers in handfuls. BO slow - "hmm failure on booster recovery, remedy systems and take enough time to prove, possibly years, before next flight". Increment in serial number.How do you know? BO is far more secretive, and has deeper pockets, so they can just be quiet until they have something to show. We don't know how many design iterations they have gone through, or how the significant the changes have been from earlier - failed - attempts.
Personally, I think they must secretly be in cahoots, because they way things are going Blue is working on solving one half of the puzzle while Spacex is working on the other half. (of course, there is some overlap, as seen yesterday) Then in 10-15 years when they get to the really tough parts that are no longer overlapping they will be in the perfect position to help each other out.
While Blue Origin is far more secretive... I know from chatting with one of them last year that they hate being called "BO" and prefer to be called "Blue" if people want to abbreviate
They can fight it to the end of time if they want, but people will keep using the abbreviated company name.
SpaceX is thriving on sizable government contracts, augmented by a healthy commercial payload business. It is a modern "commercial" version of the classic defense contractor.Blue Origin has only talked about joy rides for paying customers, which seems to me unlikely to pay the rent long term. I suspect that the company has eyes on some of the same business that SpaceX is working.
Blue is a decade behind, but it may be leapfrogging SpaceX on the propulsion side with BE-3 and BE-4.
BE-4, of course, is being developed for ULA too, which is a conduit for some of that government money to Blue.
Personally, I see Blue thriving on those engines more than anything. Unlike SpaceX, they've already sold one to another company. I think they will sell more before it is all said and done.