Author Topic: Blue Origin new execs - Bob Smith, Brent Sherwood etc retiring late 2023  (Read 28283 times)

Online Purona

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?


Offline kevinof

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Hmmm. Not sure I would concur with that assessment.

Sometimes all a manager (boss, ceo etc) has to do is set direction, make decisive decisions and remove any roadblocks - Then step out of the way and let the teams charge ahead. You hire smart people to do the right thing - so set the parameters and let them do it.

I've known great managers who get this and are hugely successful, and I've known many of the other kind with all the paper qualifications in the world and make lousy managers and breed apathy and stagnation.


https://www.crunchbase.com/person/david-limp says
Quote
David has B.S. degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a M.S. degree in Management from Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

His degrees in CS, Math and Management are all likely to be useful as a Blue CEO. The one major thing that's missing is understanding the physical world, but with his math background and the basic physics classes he presumably took at some point he'll probably do OK learning physics and engineering on the job. In summary I find his education acceptable.

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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One thing we can be certain about is that  Bezos is passionate about achieving a crewed lunar landing. I think it unlikely it is coincidence that discussions about Bob’s departure commenced around the time Blue was awarded HLS Appendix P.

Limp is Bezos’ trusted man, installed to undertake a specific task. Things may get ugly and expensive, but I suspect we’ll see the end to aimless meandering and the start of a laser focus on delivering HLS.

Offline meekGee

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This much is certain: If there was any good will left, then Smith would have been allowed to stay until New Glenn makes a respectable showing.

It's his project, it will be unveiled, and normally you'd make the transition then.
« Last Edit: 09/26/2023 04:03 pm by meekGee »
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Offline Tomness

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Is Jeff Bezos going to sleep on the assembly line and move his primary residence to a 2-bedroom house at the launch facility?

If so, then great, they have a reasonable shot at matching the required sense of urgency.
That's not Jeff's job,  that's now Dave's Job.

My cursory google research reveals that at the companies that collectively launch 80% of payload mass to orbit, the CEO and majority owner tend to be the same person.

Interestingly, this pattern is also evident at the companies that operate more than half of all operational satellites.

Seems like a growing trend.

That's Gwen not E.

Offline dglow

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This much is certain: If there was any good will left, then Smith would have been allowed to stay until New Glenn makes a respectable showing.

It isn’t about goodwill, Jeff just doesn’t want to wait that long.

Offline Robotbeat

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Is Jeff Bezos going to sleep on the assembly line and move his primary residence to a 2-bedroom house at the launch facility?

If so, then great, they have a reasonable shot at matching the required sense of urgency.
That's not Jeff's job,  that's now Dave's Job.

My cursory google research reveals that at the companies that collectively launch 80% of payload mass to orbit, the CEO and majority owner tend to be the same person.

Interestingly, this pattern is also evident at the companies that operate more than half of all operational satellites.

Seems like a growing trend.

That's Gwen not E.
Gwynne is the President. Elon is the CEO.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

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Offline joek

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This much is certain: If there was any good will left, then Smith would have been allowed to stay until New Glenn makes a respectable showing.
It isn’t about goodwill, Jeff just doesn’t want to wait that long.

So why now has it become a matter of "Jeff just doesn’t want to wait that long"?

Lots of room for speculation. Maybe Bezos had an epiphany while gazing at the stars? Maybe the HLS mission has put a hard date on Blue delivering? Maybe his Amazon compadre's read him the riot act about the need for additional launch capability for Kuiper (vs. using That Other Company)? Maybe someone put a nice KPI/scorecard in front of Bezos which showed Blue's progress over the last 20 years vs. That Other Company?

Hard to tell the genesis of this decision, or why it is occurring now. But when faced with facts, everyone, executives especially, have to answer: If not me, who? If not now, when?

Bezos answered. Whether it was the right decision remains to be seen. But as virtually anyone who has been involved in bleeding-edge efforts can attest, a decision is virtually always better than no decision--if you are willing to admit that decision may be wrong, and rapidly learn and correct. We'll see if Bezos, Limp, and Blue et. al. take that to heart.

Offline meekGee

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This much is certain: If there was any good will left, then Smith would have been allowed to stay until New Glenn makes a respectable showing.

It isn’t about goodwill, Jeff just doesn’t want to wait that long.
Probably. 

A friend told me one time that once a decision is made to remove a CEO, it just cannot happen soon enough.

Oh well.

Let's see if DL issues an opening statement about the state of affairs and near-term plan, or whether they choose to continue in silence.
« Last Edit: 09/27/2023 04:17 am by meekGee »
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Offline woods170

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?

That takes at least seven years, as proven by F9 (reuse dev started in 2010, first actual reuse was in 2017).

New Glenn development started full development in 2014, with reuse factored into the design from the Get-Go (unlike Falcon 9). First flight is now scheduled for 2024. Earliest reuse is thus also 2024, at the very earliest.
So, Blue is likely taking at least 10, but possible 11 years, to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?

That takes at least seven years, as proven by F9 (reuse dev started in 2010, first actual reuse was in 2017).

New Glenn development started full development in 2014, with reuse factored into the design from the Get-Go (unlike Falcon 9). First flight is now scheduled for 2024. Earliest reuse is thus also 2024, at the very earliest.
So, Blue is likely taking at least 10, but possible 11 years, to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle.

There needs to be some context added, however:

- New Glenn went from a medium-lift, hydrogen-oxygen rocket powered by 5 BE-3s to a much, much larger rocket , methane-oxygen powered by 7 BE-4s. It is only matched by Falcon Heavy (three Falcon 9 cores), and does this with a single-stick configuration.

- Said BE-4s went from 500,000 lbf to 550,000 lbf to meet ULA and U.S. Military requirements.

- The second stage was altered from methane-oxygen powered by a vacuum-optimized BE-4 to hydrogen-oxygen powered by two BE-3Us.

- The goal for Blue Origin is to not only launch successfully, but to land and recover the first stage successfully on the first attempt!

So, we can see that we are looking at a much larger launcher with New Glenn that does very different things, and is attempting successful the first time around. Using Falcon 9 only can give us a lower limit.

Offline dglow

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?

That takes at least seven years, as proven by F9 (reuse dev started in 2010, first actual reuse was in 2017).

New Glenn development started full development in 2014, with reuse factored into the design from the Get-Go (unlike Falcon 9). First flight is now scheduled for 2024. Earliest reuse is thus also 2024, at the very earliest.
So, Blue is likely taking at least 10, but possible 11 years, to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle.

There needs to be some context added, however:

- New Glenn went from a medium-lift, hydrogen-oxygen rocket powered by 5 BE-3s to a much, much larger rocket , methane-oxygen powered by 7 BE-4s. It is only matched by Falcon Heavy (three Falcon 9 cores), and does this with a single-stick configuration.

- Said BE-4s went from 500,000 lbf to 550,000 lbf to meet ULA and U.S. Military requirements.

- The second stage was altered from methane-oxygen powered by a vacuum-optimized BE-4 to hydrogen-oxygen powered by two BE-3Us.

- The goal for Blue Origin is to not only launch successfully, but to land and recover the first stage successfully on the first attempt!

So, we can see that we are looking at a much larger launcher with New Glenn that does very different things, and is attempting successful the first time around. Using Falcon 9 only can give us a lower limit.

Okay, but let's not beat around the bush. New Glenn's schedule is what it is because BE-4 development took longer than anticipated.

As for landing on the first attempt, I think we'll all be happy and relieved if the launch alone is successful.

Offline Mondagun

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As for landing on the first attempt, I think we'll all be happy and relieved if the launch alone is successful.
Agreed. Look at how many tries SpaceX needed to land their booster in one piece for the first time. It could be of course that Blue Origin has managed to poach some experts from SpaceX. This would give them a head start, but New Glenn is still a different beast from Falcon 9 and not all lessons-learned from Falcon 9 are going to be applicable one-to-one.

Also, even if the first launch itself is successful, you're by no means in the home stretch. Other launch vehicles have shown that certain design weaknesses or Manufacturing, Assembly, Integration and Test (MAIT) process weaknesses may come back to bite you even after you already have multiple successful launches under your belt. Falcon 9 flew successfully for the first 18 times before suffering a Rapid Unscheduled Dissassembly (RUD) on its 19th flight. Vega flew successfully for the first 14 times before failure on its 15th flight.

As CEO of a launch vehicle company you're a bit like president Nixon during the first attempted landing on the Moon: just like Nixon, you need to have two speeches prepared. One for success and another one for failure. Let's see what Limp has to say after the success or failure of the first launch (and landing) of New Glenn. Personally I've always thought that how a leader handles failure tells you a lot more about his/her character than how he/she handles success, but that aside.
« Last Edit: 09/28/2023 01:16 am by Mondagun »

Offline Nomadd

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Is Jeff Bezos going to sleep on the assembly line and move his primary residence to a 2-bedroom house at the launch facility?

If so, then great, they have a reasonable shot at matching the required sense of urgency.
3 bedroom counting the converted garage. 4 counting his girlfriend's coverted art studio/previous church sale
storage facility/proof that lighting fixtures don't work very well hooked in series building.
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.

Offline meekGee

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?

That takes at least seven years, as proven by F9 (reuse dev started in 2010, first actual reuse was in 2017).

New Glenn development started full development in 2014, with reuse factored into the design from the Get-Go (unlike Falcon 9). First flight is now scheduled for 2024. Earliest reuse is thus also 2024, at the very earliest.
So, Blue is likely taking at least 10, but possible 11 years, to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle.
I don't know that first reuse was planned for 2024 - I thought only recovery was planned.
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Offline Robotbeat

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New Glenn started development earlier, like 2010 or so. There’s public imagery of the vehicle in 2011.

At that time it used BE-3 and was called by a different name.

New Glenn passed System Requirements Review in 2012.
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Offline woods170

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I have an idea. maybe you guys have unrealistic expectations on how long it would actually take to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle system. thoughts?

That takes at least seven years, as proven by F9 (reuse dev started in 2010, first actual reuse was in 2017).

New Glenn development started full development in 2014, with reuse factored into the design from the Get-Go (unlike Falcon 9). First flight is now scheduled for 2024. Earliest reuse is thus also 2024, at the very earliest.
So, Blue is likely taking at least 10, but possible 11 years, to develop a semi reusable launch vehicle.
I don't know that first reuse was planned for 2024 - I thought only recovery was planned.

Blue intends to refly the first recovered booster. They also plan the first launch of New Glenn to be recovered. By extension that means Blue intends to refly the first New Glenn flight article.

Offline woods170

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New Glenn started development earlier, like 2010 or so. There’s public imagery of the vehicle in 2011.

At that time it used BE-3 and was called by a different name.

New Glenn passed System Requirements Review in 2012.

But that was not New Glenn as it is being built right now. The final major DAC changes to the design were not wrapped up until 2014. Only then did Blue start full development of the vehicle that is intended to have its maiden launch next year.

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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From the CNBC article:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/28/blue-origin-sierra-space-orbital-reef-space-station-in-limbo.html

“Two of those sources pointed CNBC to a shift in Blue Origin’s interests after the company won a $3.4 billion NASA contract to build a crew lunar lander”

I’m sticking to my opinion that Dave Limp is Bezos’ hatchet man with a singular mission to deliver HLS and, by extension, New Glenn. Resources will be focused on this core programme. Everything else will have to watch out.

Offline kevinof

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Hope you are right - They need focus, focus ,focus on the core programme and stop the "shotgun" approach where they want to do everything and then some.

Get to orbit, then work on ops and recovery and get really good at it, then the lander. Everything else is canned, parked or very very long term - and that should include NS (bin it).

From the CNBC article:

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/28/blue-origin-sierra-space-orbital-reef-space-station-in-limbo.html

“Two of those sources pointed CNBC to a shift in Blue Origin’s interests after the company won a $3.4 billion NASA contract to build a crew lunar lander”

I’m sticking to my opinion that Dave Limp is Bezos’ hatchet man with a singular mission to deliver HLS and, by extension, New Glenn. Resources will be focused on this core programme. Everything else will have to watch out.

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