Author Topic: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan  (Read 666706 times)

Offline Comga

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1760 on: 09/16/2020 05:02 am »
The first post in this thread is 4 years old today.
There are lots of enormous new buildings, a massive launch site under construction, a whole new program to sell New Glen's engines to ULA for Vulcan, and a bit of hardware shown.
But there have been no rockets shown and certainly no launches.
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1761 on: 09/16/2020 05:27 am »
Perfect is the enemy of good enough.

Offline high road

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1762 on: 09/16/2020 07:19 am »
Perfect is the enemy of good enough.

Neither seems to apply to BE-4, or building the factory before fully testing the rocket.

Offline woods170

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1763 on: 09/16/2020 07:31 am »
The first post in this thread is 4 years old today.
There are lots of enormous new buildings, a massive launch site under construction, a whole new program to sell New Glen's engines to ULA for Vulcan, and a bit of hardware shown.
But there have been no rockets shown and certainly no launches.
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

They have become Old Space.

Offline ZChris13

The first post in this thread is 4 years old today.
There are lots of enormous new buildings, a massive launch site under construction, a whole new program to sell New Glen's engines to ULA for Vulcan, and a bit of hardware shown.
But there have been no rockets shown and certainly no launches.
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

They have become Old Space.
They have, carefully and deliberately, bought themselves into Old Space. Not the first time Mr. Bezos has performed similar tricks.

Offline grondilu

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1765 on: 09/16/2020 10:24 am »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

I'm not much surprised by the lack of publicly visible progress on New Glenn.  As far as we know, they could very well meet their timeline, so there's no reason to doubt they will.

What is most concerning to me is the apparent complete halt on New Sheppard.  It's been almost a year since the last launch, now.  Of course, it could be blamed on the covid-19 lockdowns, but other space companies have resumed activities months ago.  It's suspiciously indicative of a lack of fundamental motivation or something like that.
« Last Edit: 09/16/2020 10:25 am by grondilu »

Offline Donosauro

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1766 on: 09/16/2020 10:44 am »
What is most concerning to me is the apparent complete halt on New Sheppard.  It's been almost a year since the last launch, now.  Of course, it could be blamed on the covid-19 lockdowns, but other space companies have resumed activities months ago.  It's suspiciously indicative of a lack of fundamental motivation or something like that.

I wonder if they have decided that the downside of a fatal failure of a New Shepard passenger flight is hugely worse than the benefits to them of operating the system successfully for a while. If so, they may be quietly abandoning the project.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1767 on: 09/16/2020 10:49 am »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

Par for the course. It typically takes about six years to develop an all new vehicle.
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline grondilu

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1768 on: 09/16/2020 10:51 am »
I wonder if they have decided that the downside of a fatal failure of a New Shepard passenger flight is hugely worse than the benefits to them of operating the system successfully for a while. If so, they may be quietly abandoning the project.

It's not like they haven't had a lot of time to think about it.

The reasoning may be correct, it's after all a cost/risk analysis.   If it's true that they're quietly abandoning the project though, the worst about it IMHO would be the dishonest attitude of not admitting it.   If they can't admit that, and explain why they've changed their mind, how am I supposed to believe in the sincerity of any enthusiastic claim they can ever make about any of their other projects ?
« Last Edit: 09/16/2020 10:52 am by grondilu »

Offline Donosauro

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1769 on: 09/16/2020 11:03 am »
I wonder if they have decided that the downside of a fatal failure of a New Shepard passenger flight is hugely worse than the benefits to them of operating the system successfully for a while. If so, they may be quietly abandoning the project.

It's not like they haven't had a lot of time to think about it.

The reasoning may be correct, it's after all a cost/risk analysis.   If it's true that they're quietly abandoning the project though, the worst about it IMHO would be the dishonest attitude of not admitting it.   If they can't admit that, and explain why they've changed their mind, how am I supposed to believe in the sincerity of any enthusiastic claim they can ever make about any of their other projects ?

It is, of course, possible that their most recent flight revealed a previously unknown problem that could easily have resulted in a catastrophic failure. It could have been a problem that did not show itself, in any way, prior to New Shepard's most recent flight.

I have no advice for you about how to deal with lack of corporate transparency and/or corporate honesty. Even if I did, that would probably be off-topic.

Offline Frogstar_Robot

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1770 on: 09/16/2020 11:33 am »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

Blue Origin is like a real life game of Space Tycoon. The only required result is to keep Jeff Bezos happy.

I also suggest it is an example of Liebig's Law of the Minimum. Lack of money may be a limiting factor to successful development, but when sufficient money is available, the next limiting factor comes into play. That may be talent, motivation, corporate vision, organizational skills, the particular technology chosen, etc
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Offline GWH

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1771 on: 09/16/2020 12:29 pm »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

Par for the course. It typically takes about six years to develop an all new vehicle.

Wikipedia has an unsourced entry that New Glenn development started on 2012.

So we are at 8 years. Generally estimated launch date is at least 2022, making that 10.

Offline su27k

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1772 on: 09/16/2020 12:41 pm »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

Par for the course. It typically takes about six years to develop an all new vehicle.

It's been longer than 4 years, 2016 is when they announced the details and the name. ULA's BE-4 deal was announced on September 17, 2014, I think it's safe to say they're already working on New Glenn back then.

Offline spacenut

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1773 on: 09/16/2020 01:24 pm »
Blue must have a lot of old school people working for them, since they have been so slow in developing New Glenn.  Even New Sheppard hasn't taken anybody up yet.  I do see where they are building and have built nice manufacturing facilities. 

SpaceX seems to build the rockets and start testing them while they build facilities.  Musk also works about 18 hours a day, so there is that also.  He generates excitement while Bezos is somewhat boring. 

Offline clongton

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1774 on: 09/16/2020 01:40 pm »
SpaceX seems to build the rockets and start testing them while they build facilities.  Musk also works about 18 hours a day, so there is that also.  He generates excitement while Bezos is somewhat boring. 

Musk also has his own generic cubicle (very much like what his engineers have) right on the floor among his engineers. He's an exacting taskmaster and drives them really hard but they willingly go with it because he doesn't ask anybody to do something that he isn't already doing himself. As hard as he drives his engineers, he drives himself even harder. He treats his engineering team like he is their team leader, not the team boss. He often is right in the middle of the mix actually doing design work. Even though he is the owner and boss, his team actually thinks of him as the hardest working team member, one of them. That kind of leadership style creates loyalty and a willingness by others to go the extra mile when asked, even if it is asked frequently, which in the case of SpaceX, it is.

Can anyone here speak to Jeff Bezo's leadership style? I know it's different, but how different, and in what way?
« Last Edit: 09/16/2020 01:40 pm by clongton »
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Offline ulm_atms

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1775 on: 09/16/2020 02:05 pm »
SpaceX seems to build the rockets and start testing them while they build facilities.  Musk also works about 18 hours a day, so there is that also.  He generates excitement while Bezos is somewhat boring. 

Musk also has his own generic cubicle (very much like what his engineers have) right on the floor among his engineers. He's an exacting taskmaster and drives them really hard but they willingly go with it because he doesn't ask anybody to do something that he isn't already doing himself. As hard as he drives his engineers, he drives himself even harder. He treats his engineering team like he is their team leader, not the team boss. He often is right in the middle of the mix actually doing design work. Even though he is the owner and boss, his team actually thinks of him as the hardest working team member, one of them. That kind of leadership style creates loyalty and a willingness by others to go the extra mile when asked, even if it is asked frequently, which in the case of SpaceX, it is.

Can anyone here speak to Jeff Bezo's leadership style? I know it's different, but how different, and in what way?

I think this would be a very interesting conversation between the two.  I also think this needs it's own thread completely because it really has nothing to do with New Glen.  I'll let the mods decide.

In my opinion, Bezo is a manager and Musk is a doer.  I've seen Bezo give a presentation...but have never seen him being much involved with Blue...at least from a public perception...maybe inside is different.

Musk is 100% all in with SpaceX.  He can answer technical questions that I guarantee Bezo would have no clue about with New Glen.  As you say, he is in the trenches at SpaceX.  If someone asked him in the factory for a hand doing something while he was walking by...I have no doubt he would do it.

They are just two, totally different people that the differences are vast.  The business ideology is also vast to boot!

Offline Wudizzle

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1776 on: 09/16/2020 02:31 pm »
I'm not much surprised by the lack of publicly visible progress on New Glenn.  As far as we know, they could very well meet their timeline, so there's no reason to doubt they will.

I disagree. I think there are multiple reasons to doubt it.

The first reason is a generic, not-unique-to-Blue reason: Rockets are hard. And new ones don't happen on schedule. That's not an indictment of Blue, just the reality of the industry. Unless presented with a large amount of supporting evidence, I find it best to default to doubting a new rocket will meet its timeline.

The second reason has to do with visible progress. It's true that SpaceX is quite open, and they happened to start working on their latest rocket in a field lending to tremendous visibility. But that doesn't mean everyone else is being secretive. Pretty much any time a company building a rocket meets some significant milestone, we see it. On twitter, in articles, on company-released videos. We saw when Blue hit engine milestones. We saw when they finished the MCC. We saw when they produced a fairing. I think it's wishful thinking to assume that on the prescribed day the bay doors are going to open and out will pop a fully-stacked New Glenn ready to roll to the launch pad.

All of that is not to say that Blue isn't making progress. I have difficulty keeping my head wrapped around the physical scale of these rockets, and as such, the infrastructure surrounding them. We DO see a lot of visible progress on infrastructure, and the pure scale of it means there is a lot going on. That's a great sign, IMO.

In short, Blue has built a reputation that makes me say "I'll believe it when I see it." But I do WANT to see it, and I think they will eventually have something to show.

Online butters

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1777 on: 09/16/2020 02:31 pm »
Can anyone here speak to Jeff Bezo's leadership style? I know it's different, but how different, and in what way?
The most consistent element of Bezos' leadership style is the prioritization of customer satisfaction over employee satisfaction and workplace culture. In the context of New Glenn, we can see this most clearly with the Vulcan deal. Once there was the prospect of securing a major customer, that became a focus which might have overridden other priorities. We also see from Glassdoor reviews etc. that Blue Origin is not rated as a good place to work, even though compensation is known to be very competitive. This is similar to Amazon.

Another attribute is that Bezos will tend to find something to micromanage, although he is not a comprehensive micromanager across the board. With Amazon, the issue was traditionally the web homepage. Bezos would push for many features to be included on the homepage and weigh in on minute visual design details, despite having hired some of the foremost experts in these subjects. We don't really know what type of micromanagement occurs at Blue Origin, but micromanagement is an employee complaint.

Finally, from a software engineering perspective, Bezos is philosophically inclined toward platforms over products. He personally imposed a rigorous service oriented architecture (SOA) at Amazon and AWS. Systems are decomposed into small services that each do one thing and interact with each other over well-defined and relatively stable interfaces. This isn't a bad way to do things, but it can have bad effects when taken to extremes and reflected too literally in the organizational team structure.

The most typical example is the game of hot potato which tends to ensue when responding to issues/defects. An issue discovered in one service often originates in another service, so the ticket bounces around between the teams that own the interdependent services, with each team arguing that some other service is responsible for the problem, and their team's service is working exactly as documented. So instead of giving engineers ownership and responsibility for the correct functionality of the system, there are little fiefdoms casting blame in an "us vs. them" culture.

Offline meekGee

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Re: New Glenn: Blue Origin Announcement of Orbital Rocket Plan
« Reply #1778 on: 09/16/2020 02:43 pm »
How do people feel about what has been seen for four years of work with really significant funding?

Par for the course. It typically takes about six years to develop an all new vehicle.
According to https://www.spacelaunchreport.com/newglenn.html, even in 2015 the rocket was already well under development, announced by BO and called "Very big brother". So start of work is at least a couple if years before that.

The same source states 2012 for initial work, but that's not directly from the horse's mouth.

IMO it's going to be more like 12 years by the time it flies.
« Last Edit: 09/16/2020 02:44 pm by meekGee »
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SpaceX seems to build the rockets and start testing them while they build facilities.  Musk also works about 18 hours a day, so there is that also.  He generates excitement while Bezos is somewhat boring. 

Musk also has his own generic cubicle (very much like what his engineers have) right on the floor among his engineers. He's an exacting taskmaster and drives them really hard but they willingly go with it because he doesn't ask anybody to do something that he isn't already doing himself. As hard as he drives his engineers, he drives himself even harder. He treats his engineering team like he is their team leader, not the team boss. He often is right in the middle of the mix actually doing design work. Even though he is the owner and boss, his team actually thinks of him as the hardest working team member, one of them. That kind of leadership style creates loyalty and a willingness by others to go the extra mile when asked, even if it is asked frequently, which in the case of SpaceX, it is.

Can anyone here speak to Jeff Bezo's leadership style? I know it's different, but how different, and in what way?

I think this would be a very interesting conversation between the two.  I also think this needs it's own thread completely because it really has nothing to do with New Glen.  I'll let the mods decide.

In my opinion, Bezo is a manager and Musk is a doer.  I've seen Bezo give a presentation...but have never seen him being much involved with Blue...at least from a public perception...maybe inside is different.

Musk is 100% all in with SpaceX.  He can answer technical questions that I guarantee Bezo would have no clue about with New Glen.  As you say, he is in the trenches at SpaceX.  If someone asked him in the factory for a hand doing something while he was walking by...I have no doubt he would do it.

They are just two, totally different people that the differences are vast.  The business ideology is also vast to boot!

Jeff Bezos isn't the CEO of Blue Origin, just the founder, owner, and primary funder. As far as I know, he's not part of any technical team within Blue Origin.
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