Author Topic: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison  (Read 92076 times)

Offline punder

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #20 on: 10/03/2021 07:58 pm »
In a world free of Jeff’s ego, BO’s best bet at this point would be selling its rocket engine business to ULA, then concentrating on habitat modules, highly efficient in-space tugs, large deployable structures technology, etc., all designed for the Starship payload bay. In other words, focusing on creating in-space infrastructure for people living and working in space, the stated original goal of BO.

Not holding my breath.  :)

Let's add large scale in-space manufacturing to the list. Also in-space propellant synthesis. Basically anything needed for an industry except "getting there". All of that is needed and SpaceX isn't bothering to work on it yet in the hopes someone else would do it.

Exactly. In a timeline where Jeff doesn’t try to hamper SpaceX with lawfare instead of innovation and progress, but recognizes the reality of SpaceX launch dominance instead, the two companies could create enormous synergy for space settlement.

Offline joek

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #21 on: 10/03/2021 08:23 pm »
I've often thought that if Blue Origin wanted a "moonshot" in the same way that SpaceX has Mars colonization, they should have gone for "create a reason for millions of people to live and work in space."
...

To be fair, SpaceX's Mars ambitions are little more than the same... build it and they will come. Do not want to send this thread off on yet another rehash of the same arguments, but the "reason" for both is squishy. That said, if Blue has a case for LEO-cislunar occupation, they need to do a better job of it (or co-opt Musk's Mars ambitions). Musk's broader argument to make humanity a multi-planetary and space-faring civilization is broad and far-reaching. Going to be tough for Blue to trump that unless they start pouring concrete Real Soon.

Online trimeta

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #22 on: 10/03/2021 08:36 pm »
I've often thought that if Blue Origin wanted a "moonshot" in the same way that SpaceX has Mars colonization, they should have gone for "create a reason for millions of people to live and work in space."
...

To be fair, SpaceX's Mars ambitions are little more than the same... build it and they will come. Do not want to send this thread off on yet another rehash of the same arguments, but the "reason" for both is squishy. That said, if Blue has a case for LEO-cislunar occupation, they need to do a better job of it (or co-opt Musk's Mars ambitions). Musk's broader argument to make humanity a multi-planetary and space-faring civilization is broad and far-reaching. Going to be tough for Blue to trump that unless they start pouring concrete Real Soon.

You're not wrong, but for Mars even a "flags and footprints" mission would be an incredible achievement, and is something to inspire engineers and the world at large. Conversely, just getting to LEO isn't seen as the same sort of challenging undertaking (although Blue Origin in particular doing so might very well be...). So in a sense, Blue Origin's mission is harder than SpaceX's, because they need to go farther and do more to pass the bar of "what we've been doing for 50 years." And if their actual mission boils down to "lower the cost of access to space," that covers almost every New Space company, and invites questions about whether Blue Origin in particular is well-positioned to deliver on that promise compared to everyone else.

Offline CorvusCorax

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #23 on: 10/04/2021 10:53 am »
I've often thought that if Blue Origin wanted a "moonshot" in the same way that SpaceX has Mars colonization, they should have gone for "create a reason for millions of people to live and work in space."
...

To be fair, SpaceX's Mars ambitions are little more than the same... build it and they will come. Do not want to send this thread off on yet another rehash of the same arguments, but the "reason" for both is squishy. That said, if Blue has a case for LEO-cislunar occupation, they need to do a better job of it (or co-opt Musk's Mars ambitions). Musk's broader argument to make humanity a multi-planetary and space-faring civilization is broad and far-reaching. Going to be tough for Blue to trump that unless they start pouring concrete Real Soon.

You're not wrong, but for Mars even a "flags and footprints" mission would be an incredible achievement, and is something to inspire engineers and the world at large. Conversely, just getting to LEO isn't seen as the same sort of challenging undertaking (although Blue Origin in particular doing so might very well be...). So in a sense, Blue Origin's mission is harder than SpaceX's, because they need to go farther and do more to pass the bar of "what we've been doing for 50 years." And if their actual mission boils down to "lower the cost of access to space," that covers almost every New Space company, and invites questions about whether Blue Origin in particular is well-positioned to deliver on that promise compared to everyone else.

I think New Glenn's maiden flight if it were to happen now would still give Blue Origin some well earned respect in the space community - especially if it were to succeed on the first try.

New Shepherds first manned flight was kinda a PR fail. Being just days after Richard Branson stole the show it was overshadowed by the following backlash questioning billionaires doing space joyrides, the risks involved, and the resulting change in "what qualifies one as an Astronaut". Then came SpaceX with the first "real" private spaceflight - Inspiration4. As a result, even after so many years of anticipation, Blue Origin's flight might end up as a quickly forgotten side note in the history books. At this point, the only way for them to make noteworthy news with New Shepherd is by flying noteworthy celebrities -- or *knocks on wood* if something were to go wrong, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

But a new vehicle, an orbital one, would still be recognized, as long as it doesn't end up rendered "too little too late" as well.
Specifically, New Glenn needs to have either it's first orbit, first successful landing, or first reuse before Starship does.

If it ends up too slow on all 3, then the situation will once more end up as follows:

The turtle had raced the hare slow and smooth. But by the time it finally crossed the finish line, the sun was setting, the award ceremony was over and the spectators and press photographers had long left. The only witnesses were the cleanup crew waiting to close down the stadium.


Offline tssp_art

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #24 on: 10/04/2021 02:01 pm »
The recent insight (insider info? rumor? speculation?) that New Glenn first flight will de delayed to NET 2024 (Michael Sheetz - "a source familiar with the rocket's progress said that goal [Q4-2022] is extremely optimistic, saying the inaugural launch won't happen before 2024") may be the game changer for Blue Origin. It is almost certain (in my mind anyway) that Starship will be in revenue generating operations before then - having demonstrated full reusability and gathering steam on rapid turnaround. Also, by then, there will be competition from at least the likes of Rocket Lab, a company that already knows how to get to orbit, how to operate a revenue generating space business, and that will be introducing the partially reusable Neutron rocket at the same time. Probably others as well. If Blue Origin is then just learning how to get to orbit, how to land, recover, and quickly refurbish the booster, how to do commercial payload processing, etc, they will simply no longer be relevant.

So what are the options for Blue Origin?

1) Continue to suppress competition - Continue the legal and PR assault against SpaceX possibly leveraging and exploiting the anti-Musk sentiment of large parts of the public and Government. Possibly expand that to other companies to slow future competition. This is an ugly strategy, but Amazon has employed elements of it before and Jeff Bezos has demonstrated a willingness to take steps in this direction. I doubt that he's worried about his reputation in the Aerospace community - it will likely not suffer simply because it can't get much lower than it already is.

2) Start "rolling up" the smaller and more promising startups - Bezos has recently toured Relativity's site. Founded by a former Blue Origin propulsion engineer (and a former SpaceX propulsion engineer), Relativity's approach to automated manufacturing could have a lot of synergy with Blue. For a few billion he could acquire the company along with its entire management team - and culture. Maybe that could replace Blue's current management and culture - Not nearly as easy as it might sound, but something needs to shock and jump start Blue before progress there drops to zero.

3) Change direction completely - Sell BE-4 production to ULA, focus only on vacuum engines and building in-space only vehicles, structures and facilities (maybe buying Axiom or the assets of Bigelow) and using SpaceX Starship as the "road to space". Any number of people have suggested some variant of this before and it runs up against the idea that Jeff's ego would not allow this approach. I'm not so sure. When his HLS lawsuit fails (and I believe it will) he will have to do some serious soul searching about how he wants to be remembered - as the tantrum throwing villain or the futurist that rose above the fray.

4) Something else entirely.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 02:02 pm by tssp_art »

Offline Redclaws

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #25 on: 10/04/2021 02:25 pm »
Just would like to say how impressed I am that this thread has not descended in to acrimony and general nastiness. I’d been actively avoiding it because of how ugly the other BO related threads have been recently, and I am pleasantly surprised upon reading it.  Good on everyone for having a conversation and not a fight.

Offline Yggdrasill

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #26 on: 10/04/2021 03:08 pm »
I think New Glenn's maiden flight if it were to happen now would still give Blue Origin some well earned respect in the space community - especially if it were to succeed on the first try.

New Shepherds first manned flight was kinda a PR fail. Being just days after Richard Branson stole the show it was overshadowed by the following backlash questioning billionaires doing space joyrides, the risks involved, and the resulting change in "what qualifies one as an Astronaut". Then came SpaceX with the first "real" private spaceflight - Inspiration4. As a result, even after so many years of anticipation, Blue Origin's flight might end up as a quickly forgotten side note in the history books. At this point, the only way for them to make noteworthy news with New Shepherd is by flying noteworthy celebrities -- or *knocks on wood* if something were to go wrong, let's hope it doesn't come to that.

But a new vehicle, an orbital one, would still be recognized, as long as it doesn't end up rendered "too little too late" as well.
Specifically, New Glenn needs to have either it's first orbit, first successful landing, or first reuse before Starship does.

If it ends up too slow on all 3, then the situation will once more end up as follows:

The turtle had raced the hare slow and smooth. But by the time it finally crossed the finish line, the sun was setting, the award ceremony was over and the spectators and press photographers had long left. The only witnesses were the cleanup crew waiting to close down the stadium.
The New Glenn vs Starship thing is a bit arbitrary. New Glenn is more in the ballpark of Falcon Heavy when it comes to capabilities, and Falcon Heavy and New Glenn are both partially reusable. Falcon Heavy has already reached orbit, it's already successfully landed and the side boosters have already been reused. New Glenn lost that race.

But of course, Blue would get credit for any success on New Glenn, just as any rocket company gets credit for any successful launch. I actually think a successful orbital launch would help quite a lot for Blues image. But I don't see the necessity in having success with New Glenn before SpaceX has success with Starship.

If Starship has the success that one might expect over the next few months, I think SLS would take most of the negative attention, in the comparison with Starship. Not New Glenn.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 03:09 pm by Yggdrasill »

Offline CorvusCorax

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #27 on: 10/04/2021 05:23 pm »
But a new vehicle, an orbital one, would still be recognized, as long as it doesn't end up rendered "too little too late" as well.
Specifically, New Glenn needs to have either it's first orbit, first successful landing, or first reuse before Starship does.

If it ends up too slow on all 3, ...
The New Glenn vs Starship thing is a bit arbitrary. New Glenn is more in the ballpark of Falcon Heavy when it comes to capabilities, and Falcon Heavy and New Glenn are both partially reusable. Falcon Heavy has already reached orbit, it's already successfully landed and the side boosters have already been reused. New Glenn lost that race.

But of course, Blue would get credit for any success on New Glenn, just as any rocket company gets credit for any successful launch. I actually think a successful orbital launch would help quite a lot for Blues image. But I don't see the necessity in having success with New Glenn before SpaceX has success with Starship.

If Starship has the success that one might expect over the next few months, I think SLS would take most of the negative attention, in the comparison with Starship. Not New Glenn.

I don't think it will be as obvious for the general public. Objectively yes, SLS is so much a billions-grave that might be cheaper if it just used minted US $ as solid propellant, but subjectively it's still "the next moon rocket" that's will launch Arthemis astronauts. Everyone in the space industry knows that this vehicle is obsolete, but everyone in the space industry also knows SLS is congress' holy cow that is politically untouchable.

So they will join in the hype as NASA launches it maybe half a dozen times before it will invariably be retired, while everyone knows commercially developed reusable rockets will be the future.

But as far as commercially developed rockets go, we are in the age of partially reusable rockets right now. Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy were the front runners, but Electron, Neutron, even a "smart" Vulcan also play in that league. New Glenn comes too late to be a "game changer", but it can still be a success, commercially or at least perceived so if it gets a bunch of launches - for example for Kuiper.

However Starship will again be a "game changer", as it's - likely - going to be the first fully reusable rocket. Then, if successful, we are in the age of fully reusable rocket, and that means the partially reusable rockets developed now but entering the market too late will share their fate with expendable rockets developed in the age of partially reusable rockets. Ariane6 is likely the most prominent example. A rocket developed to serve a market that no longer exists. ( The market defined by cheap new space expendable launchers - Falcon 9 before reuse, Electron before reuse, Launcher 1, etc... - Vulcan also is being developed for that scenario, but at least with an upgrade path )

But Arianespace will likely still get launches thanks to heavy government subsidies - a bit like SLS - Ariane 6 is a holy cow, kept alive to ensure Europe's independent access to space.

New Glenn - if it comes in time - will have to compete with other partially reusable heavy lift rockets. A job that it might be able to.
If it comes too late, it will have to compete with fully, rapidly reusable launch vehicles.

Maybe it still has a chance with Jarvis, but this is a tradeoff. To which degree can Jarvis save New Glenn and to which degree will Jarvis take available Blue Origin's resources from New Armstrong - is impossible to tell with the amount of information that reaches the public.

SpaceX is famous for one more thing. They have demonstrated the ability to almost never fall for the sunk cost fallacy and cutting their losses radically and early if a previously taken road is no longer the fastest route to their goals.

Is Jarvis the project that might save New Glenn into the age of fully reusable rockets? Or the last nail in the coffin  that dooms/delays New Armstrong without being able to make New Glenn viable?

Let's not forget the lessons of shuttle. A reusable rocket is not automatically cheaper than an expendable one. There is a payload penalty and unless the vehicle is carefully designed with reuse from the getgo, the cost, effort and time required to so can make it financially non-viable - even in comparison with expendable but very cheap competitors, but definitely with properly designed reusable rockets.

Before SpaceX demonstrated it, the whole industry considered reuseability as non-viable. As it turned out this was not the case, but just because SpaceX did it doesn't mean it's easy or straightforward to do so. Success is a possible outcome but far from guaranteed.

This is also exactly why SpaceX abandoned Falcon 9 upper stage reuse. I think their assessment had indeed been "possible but not commercially viable" (can't find Elon's exact tweet but it should hopefully be somewhere in this thread: https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42637.0  )

So - New Glenn before Starship - possible success.
New Glenn after Starship would also need Jarvis to be operational and competitive right from the getgo (Edit) - in my opinion this is not a likely scenario.


« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 05:44 pm by CorvusCorax »

Offline yoram

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #28 on: 10/04/2021 05:40 pm »
So - New Glenn before Starship - possible success.
New Glenn after Starship would also need Jarvis to be operational and competitive - in my opinion this is not a likely scenario.

Musk stated that the initial (10+) SpaceShip launches will be all expendable. Maybe this will take longer. It's quite conceivable that this will be going on over a longer period, so that even a partially reusable NG is somewhat competitive to SS in costs for several years.

Also even if they have to compete half reusable against a fully reusable SS there's likely still a lot of market opportunity. Today competitors with significant cost disadvantages over Falcon, such as Ariane, are still well in commercial business. Usually customers don't want to be tied to a single monopolist.

They will still have massive advantages over other fully expendable vehicles.

Offline AU1.52

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #29 on: 10/04/2021 06:25 pm »
So - New Glenn before Starship - possible success.
New Glenn after Starship would also need Jarvis to be operational and competitive - in my opinion this is not a likely scenario.

Musk stated that the initial (10+) SpaceShip launches will be all expendable. Maybe this will take longer. It's quite conceivable that this will be going on over a longer period, so that even a partially reusable NG is somewhat competitive to SS in costs for several years.

Also even if they have to compete half reusable against a fully reusable SS there's likely still a lot of market opportunity. Today competitors with significant cost disadvantages over Falcon, such as Ariane, are still well in commercial business. Usually customers don't want to be tied to a single monopolist.

They will still have massive advantages over other fully expendable vehicles.


We need to consider time here. It is late 2021 and NG is unlike to fly until 2024 (I wonder if this new possible date is so it could fly with in complete reusable mode). Starship will like start its first flight later this year. SpaceX will have a 2+ year head start on NG. I can't see Starship still being in developmental expendable mode by 2024. That is also the tentative year HLS Starship was hoping to land on the Moon. If Blue and NG is to be even semi relevant it will need to be full reusable by 2025 or it will be left in the dust by Starship and Terran R.

Offline tssp_art

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #30 on: 10/04/2021 06:35 pm »
They will still have massive advantages over other fully expendable vehicles.

Maybe, but that's certainly not a given. It's taken years for SpaceX to get the kind of turnaround (and savings) they're getting with Falcon 9 now. That includes routinizing the landings, optimizing the recovery and return, and incremental refinements to the vehicle and processes that gradually reduce the time and cost of turnaround. And, of course, there is a payload penalty for reusability. At the start of all that optimization the cost per kilo may be higher than an expendable.

SpaceX was relentless in the pursuit of savings and their rapid iterative development cycle was essential to achieving those results as quickly as they did. Blue has not demonstrated anything like that ability. Blue fans can hope that all the extra time they've put into detail design pays off in requiring fewer modifications to vehicle and processes.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 06:42 pm by tssp_art »

Offline CorvusCorax

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #31 on: 10/04/2021 07:26 pm »

Musk stated that the initial (10+) SpaceShip launches will be all expendable. Maybe this will take longer. It's quite conceivable that this will be going on over a longer period, so that even a partially reusable NG is somewhat competitive to SS in costs for several years.

Also even if they have to compete half reusable against a fully reusable SS there's likely still a lot of market opportunity. Today competitors with significant cost disadvantages over Falcon, such as Ariane, are still well in commercial business. Usually customers don't want to be tied to a single monopolist.

They will still have massive advantages over other fully expendable vehicles.

Agreed, it's not the maiden launch of Starship that matters, not even the first launch with payload. Starship won't have truly succeeded until it demonstrated rapid reusability. As such - even though Starship is supposed to launch to (almost) orbit this year, there is still a time window of a few years for partially reusable launchers.

What has me worried for Blue Origin are these reports that New Glenn might be delayed NET 2024. By then Starship is technically supposed to land Astronauts on the moon - per HLS contract with NASA. This implies repeated tanker flights which implies its supposed to be fully operational - and fully reusable.

Ariane doesn't really count, as mentioned above it, too is a holy cow kept afloat with subsidies. So it Soyuz and a number of other "national" launchers that won't be able to compete commercially but still "have some launches".

Granted, Bezoz/Amazon have money rivaling national budgets and as such could also do that with New Glenn by letting it launch Kuiper sats at a not-exactly-competetive prize. The Kuiper business model might still close...   or not. SpaceX invested significantly into research of low cost phased array technology, laser interlinks and a number of other core technologies that need to be financially viable to operate the sat constellation with profit. It's kinda silently assumed that Amazon can simply "copy" all of that, but there might possibly be patents, manufacturing techniques and other moats that might be non-trivial to cross.

It's still a thinkable possibility that Kuiper fails to launch sufficient sats to fullfill their FCC obligations, lose their spectrum and the project gets abandoned. From:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-authorizes-kuiper-satellite-constellation

Quote
b. Kuiper must launch the space stations, place them in the assigned orbits, and operate them in accordance with this authorization and 47 CFR § 25.164(b).  Section 25.164(b) requires Kuiper to launch and operate 50 percent of its satellites no later than July 30, 2026, and Kuiper must launch the remaining space stations necessary to complete its authorized service constellation, place them in their assigned orbits, and operate each of them in accordance with the authorization no later than July 30, 2029.  47 CFR § 25.164(b).

50% is 1618 sats. Launching that many on Atlas V - if New Glenn does not become available in time - would probably be prohibitively expensive. This of course depends on the mass and size of the individual space station, which to my knowledge is not yet publicly known.

Offline Navier–Stokes

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #32 on: 10/04/2021 07:57 pm »
Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

Eric Berger obtained notes from a 3 year old study that Blue Origin commissioned to compare itself with SpaceX.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 07:59 pm by Navier–Stokes »

Offline RotoSequence

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #33 on: 10/04/2021 08:23 pm »
Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

Eric Berger obtained notes from a 3 year old study that Blue Origin commissioned to compare itself with SpaceX.

My takeaway is that Blue Origin's executives successfully recognized SpaceX's strengths over Blue, but the executives haven't had a lot of apparent success in addressing the recognized shortfalls.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #34 on: 10/04/2021 09:07 pm »
Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

Eric Berger obtained notes from a 3 year old study that Blue Origin commissioned to compare itself with SpaceX.

Wow! Nothing like having Blue Origin critique Blue Origin for us, eh?

Part of the challenge for Blue Origin though is that SpaceX is a moving target. If they want to compete with SpaceX today, they might not want to be comparing themselves to the SpaceX of 2017 - which was before SpaceX was starting production of Starship test vehicles. It is a conundrum that every other launch provider faces too, not just Blue Origin, because SpaceX is leveraging lessons learned over the past two decades to do what they are doing today.

The interesting quotes I wanted to share from the Ars Technica article are:
Quote
"They have a customer focus," a Blue Origin executive wrote in response. "We should too. In many cases we view the customer as a nuisance..."

"SpaceX shifted the market to their payload capabilities and risk profile with their low-cost launches," one person wrote. "Blue has pushed to exceed the market’s current capabilities for size and mass..."

“Cost as a design constraint and important variable is embraced by their culture, instead of being viewed as an evil metric that leads to a sub-optimal outcome," one executive wrote. "Embracing this concept in our culture would lead to solutions that will be more competitive in the marketplace.”

Another executive expressed concern that the machine shop at Blue Origin—where parts are fabricated in house—was being used less than 50 percent of the time. The problem, the executive said, was that Blue Origin had not hired enough machinists to work the shop.

"SpaceX uses younger employees to great effect," an executive wrote. "Blue is extremely picky with our intern and new grad programs accepting only 1.7 percent of applications. We could do better taking on more young people faster, knowing we may increase churn."

“I would like to see us change how we reward teams and individuals for company or project level success," one executive said. "Dinners, shirts and parties can only get us so far..."

Another executive expressed similar thoughts. “We need to get more out of our employees," this person said. "The lack of effort over weekends to meet deadlines is not a culture I am accustomed to in an operations outfit. I realize that development is somewhat different but regardless SpaceX expects and gets more out of their employees."

"I believe we study a little too much and do too little," one executive wrote. "More test [rather than] more analysis will allow us to progress more quickly, iterate, and eventually succeed."

If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Offline Scintillant

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #35 on: 10/04/2021 09:36 pm »
Maybe I'm just spoiled by SpaceX's success, but this seems like really basic stuff that Blue is failing at? Like, "cost constraints drive innovation", "hire enough people", "listen to the customer", and "stock options incentivize work" are the sorts of ideas you learn in your first week of Business 101. The fact that Blue needed outside consultants to tell them that, and doesn't seem to have actually implemented any improvements in the 3 years since the report really makes me question their ability to get anything done beyond just playing around with a suborbital rollercoaster ride.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2021 09:38 pm by Scintillant »

Offline noogie

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #36 on: 10/04/2021 09:46 pm »
Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

Eric Berger obtained notes from a 3 year old study that Blue Origin commissioned to compare itself with SpaceX.

That is very interesting but I think that it misses the root issue.
Jeff Bezos doesn't seem to have a vision to guide the company - something in between the here and now and "millions of people living and working in space" that is too nebulous to act as a corporate vision.
I think that if you dig hard enough, many of the issues with Blue Origin will be from this absence of vision.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #37 on: 10/04/2021 09:54 pm »
I particularly liked the point about the market moving to SpaceX to get cheaper launches but would the market move to exploit NG’s larger capabilities? Constellations are theory a great opportunity, but they may be too late for that.

and doesn't seem to have actually implemented any improvements in the 3 years since the report

This. They did the right thing looking to learn lessons from SpaceX’s success. But no externally visible change almost 3 years later? BE-4 late and getting later, NG no where to be seen.

They knew they had problems 3 years ago, those problems seem magnified to me know. Remember when Elon ditched a load of the Starlink management a couple of years ago, for progress he thought was too slow? Way overdue Jeff doing something similar, or even more radical.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #38 on: 10/04/2021 10:06 pm »
That is very interesting but I think that it misses the root issue.
Jeff Bezos doesn't seem to have a vision to guide the company - something in between the here and now and "millions of people living and working in space" that is too nebulous to act as a corporate vision.
I think that if you dig hard enough, many of the issues with Blue Origin will be from this absence of vision.

I think it’s lack of leadership, not vision. The nearer term vision is full reusability, being the post office / UPS of near Earth commerce, providing the infrastructure for others to use to build new space businesses / industry. Ok, maybe not as seductive to some as people on Mars? I think the case could be made it’s more impactful.

IMHO the leadership - I suspect both managerial and technical - just hasn’t been there to make it happen and drive it through.


Offline DigitalMan

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Re: SpaceX vs Blue Origin - A detailed comparison
« Reply #39 on: 10/04/2021 10:20 pm »
A long time ago there was a quote that went something like:

Bob: The costs for producing this are going to be high

Jeff: But it is reusable and the marginal cost will be lower than anybody else, yes?

Bob: yes.

I suppose the problem is it relies on a perfect design operating within expectations. What could possibly go wrong?

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