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  CCDev: Blue Origin Crew Transportation System

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Author Topic:   CCDev: Blue Origin Crew Transportation System
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-19-2011 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blue Origin executive summary (from NASA Space Act Agreement)
Blue Origin is developing a Crew Transportation System, comprised of a Space Vehicle (SV) launched first on an Atlas V launch vehicle and then on Blue Origin's own Reusable Booster System (RBS). NASA funding through CCDev2 and the future Commercial Crew program will accelerate availability of the Blue Origin CTS.

The biconic Space Vehicle will be capable of carrying seven astronauts and will transfer NASA crew and cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS), serve as an ISS emergency escape vehicle for up to 210 days, and perform a land landing to minimize the costs of recovery and reuse. It will also conduct separate commercial missions for science research, private adventure, and travel to other LEO destinations.

Blue Origin's Space Vehicle is design to ride on multiple boosters. The Atlas V was chosen for initial capability because it has a proven launch track record, has the required performance capability, can be adapted for human spaceflight operations, and is operated from facilities close to the Kennedy Space Center.

Blue Origin is simultaneously developing a Reusable Booster System to dramatically lower the cost of space access. In the coming decade, use of expendable booster stages will be a substantial portion of NASA's total cost of space access. Each one-time use of current expendable booster technology represents a prime opportunity for cost reduction. Blue Origin's RBS employs deep-throttling, restartable engines to perform vertical take-off, vertical landing (VTVL) maneuvers for booster recovery and reuse. CCDev2 funding will shorten the development time of these engines, accelerating the availability of Blue Origin's Reusable Booster System.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-29-2011 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blue Origin update (from NASA Return on Investment Report, Issue 1)
Blue Origin Successfully Kicks Off CCDev 2 Effort

Blue Origin is developing vehicles and technologies to dramatically lower the cost and increase the reliability of human access to space. The NASA investment during the CCDev 2 effort will accelerate development of a crew transportation system capable of transporting crew and cargo safely and affordably to low Earth orbit. Their crew transportation system is comprised of a reusable biconic space vehicle launched first on an Atlas V launch vehicle and then on Blue Origin's own Reusable Booster System. The Reusable Booster System features a new, low cost liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen engine that could potentially be suitable for a variety of other applications.

In May, Blue Origin successfully conducted project kickoff meetings for each of the three CCDev 2 efforts. The first effort focuses on maturing their overall space vehicle design. The second effort features ground and flight tests of their pusher escape system for astronauts. The pusher escape system is a key enabler of full-vehicle reusability, and it has the potential to significantly increase the safety of the system. The third effort revolves around accelerating the engine development for their Reusable Booster System. Blue Origin's next CCDev 2 milestones are scheduled for September. These milestones include a space vehicle Mission Concept Review and a review of Blue Origin's Reusable Booster System engine thrust chamber interface and test plan.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-23-2011 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to an FAA NOTAM (Notice to Airmen), Blue Origin plans "rocket launch activity" in Van Horn, Texas on Aug. 24, 2011 from 7 a.m. to noon CDT (1200 to 1700 GMT).
Number: FDC 1/3552 Download shapefiles
Issue Date: August 23, 2011 at 1335 UTC
Location: Van Horn, Texas near Salt Flat VORTAC (SFL)
Beginning Date and Time: August 24, 2011 at 1200 UTC
Ending Date and Time: August 24, 2011 at 1700 UTC
Reason for NOTAM: Due to rocket launch activity within a 17 nm radius of 312706N
Type: Space Operations
See here for discussion of Blue Origin's efforts and other commercial crew craft.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-02-2011 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blue Origin update
Successful Short Hop, Set Back, and Next Vehicle

Three months ago, we successfully flew our second test vehicle in a short hop mission, and then last week we lost the vehicle during a developmental test at Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 45,000 feet.

A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle.

Not the outcome any of us wanted, but we're signed up for this to be hard, and the Blue Origin team is doing an outstanding job. We're already working on our next development vehicle.

Here's the vehicle just after the short hop lift off:

Just before landing:

Just after the short hop landing:

Here it is at mach 1.2 and 45,000 feet right before the thrust termination system activated:

In case you're curious and wondering "where is the crew capsule," the development vehicle doesn't have a crew capsule — just a close-out fairing instead. We're working on the sub-orbital crew capsule separately, as well as an orbital crew vehicle to support NASA's Commercial Crew program.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-08-2011 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Deputy Administrator Tours Blue Origin

Announces Commercial Space Firm's April Engine Testing At NASA Stennis

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is visiting Blue Origin in Kent, Wash., today. The company is one of NASA's commercial partners opening a new chapter in human exploration by developing innovative systems to reach low Earth orbit as part of the Commercial Crew Development Program.

"Blue Origin is creating cutting edge technologies to take us to low Earth orbit," Garver said. "Like all of our commercial partners, they're making real progress and opening up a new job-creating segment of the economy that will allow NASA to focus on our next big challenges — missions to asteroids and Mars."

Garver also announced Blue Origin has delivered its BE-3 engine thrust chamber assembly — the engine's combustion chamber and nozzle — to NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, where testing will begin in April 2012. The company is developing a reusable launch vehicle, designed to take off and land vertically, and an escape system for its crewed spacecraft. Testing will take place on the center's E-1 Test Stand.

"We're delighted Blue Origin is taking advantage of Stennis, a center with a long record of propulsion testing from the dawn of the Space Age, to test the rocket engines of the future," Garver said.

"We appreciate the opportunity to work with the depth of expertise and utilize the facilities at Stennis for our engine testing, and are glad to have the test hardware onsite and ready to go," said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager at Blue Origin.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-22-2012 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Blue Origin update
Great Day in West Texas

The Blue Origin team worked hard and smart to pull off this first test of our suborbital Crew Capsule escape system. Please enjoy the photos and video. Gradatim Ferociter!

Blue Origin's pusher escape system rockets the Crew Capsule away from the launch pad, demonstrating a key safety system for both suborbital and orbital flights.

The New Shepard Crew Capsule escaped to an altitude of 2,307 feet before deploying parachutes for a safe return.

With touchdown 1,630 feet from the launch pad, Blue Origin completed a successful test of its Crew Capsule escape system.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-22-2012 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Commercial Crew Partner Blue Origin Completes Pad Escape Test

NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Blue Origin conducted a successful pad escape test Friday at the company's West Texas launch site, firing its pusher-escape motor and launching a full-scale suborbital crew capsule from a simulated propulsion module.

The test was part of Blue Origin's work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement with NASA during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2). Through initiatives like CCDev2, NASA is fostering the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. After the capability is matured and available to the government and other customers, NASA could contract to purchase commercial services to meet its station crew transportation needs.

"The progress Blue Origin has made on its suborbital and orbital capabilities really is encouraging for the overall future of human spaceflight," CCP Manager Ed Mango said. "It was awesome to see a spacecraft NASA played a role in developing take flight."

The suborbital crew capsule traveled to an altitude of 2,307 feet (703 meters) during the flight test before descending safely by parachute to a soft landing 1,630 feet (497 meters) away.

The pusher escape system was designed and developed by Blue Origin to allow crew escape in the event of an emergency during any phase of ascent for its suborbital New Shepard system. As part of an incremental development program, the results of this test will shape the design of the escape system for the company's orbital biconic-shaped Space Vehicle. The system is expected to enable full reusability of the launch vehicle, which is different from NASA's previous launch escape systems that would pull a spacecraft away from its rocket before reaching orbit.

"The use of a pusher configuration marks a significant departure from the traditional towed-tractor escape tower concepts of Mercury and Apollo," said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. "Providing crew escape without the need to jettison the unused escape system gets us closer to our goal of safe and affordable human spaceflight."

All of NASA's industry partners, including Blue Origin, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28245
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-03-2013 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Commercial Crew Partner Blue Origin Test-Fires New Rocket Engine

NASA commercial crew partner Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., announced it has tested a new, hydrogen- and oxygen-fueled engine designed to lift the company's crewed Space Vehicle on future missions out of Earth's atmosphere. Blue Origin is one of the American companies developing next generation rockets and spacecraft capable of carrying humans to low-Earth orbit.

Blue Origin conducted the test of its BE-3 rocket engine on a stand at the company's West Texas facility near Van Horn on Nov. 20. The engine fired for 2 1/2 minutes, then paused for several minutes before re-igniting for a minute in a pattern that simulated a suborbital mission.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been working with the company on several aspects of the engine's development. The program supported testing of the BE-3 under the agency’s Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiative and continues to offer technical support. NASA and Blue Origin also are partnered in review and tests of the company's Space Vehicle design.

"Blue Origin has made steady progress since the start of our partnership under the first Commercial Crew Development round," said Phil McAlister, NASA's director of Commercial Spaceflight Development. "We're thrilled to see another successful BE-3 engine test fire."

During the test, the engine demonstrated a full mission duty cycle, mimicking the flight of the company’s suborbital New Shepard vehicle by thrusting at 110,000 pounds in a 145-second boost phase, shutting down to simulate coast through apogee. The engine then restarted and throttled down to 25,000 pounds thrust to simulate controlled vertical landing.

Blue Origin's Orbital Launch Vehicle will use the BE-3 engine to propel the company's Space Vehicle into orbit. Unlike other boosters that burn once and then fall away to never be used again, the Reusable Booster System is designed to send a crew into space and then make a soft landing on Earth before being refurbished for another mission. The Space Vehicle is envisioned to carry people into orbit and could potentially carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

"Working with NASA accelerated our BE-3 development by over a year in preparation for flight testing on our New Shepard suborbital system and ultimately on vehicles carrying humans to low-Earth orbit," said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. "The BE-3 is a versatile, low-cost hydrogen engine applicable to NASA and commercial missions."

The engine firing comes about a year after the BE-3's thrust chamber was tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Developing a new rocket engine is one of the most difficult aspects of launch vehicle design because of the dynamics involved with creating a powerful machine that can safely operate in a range of -423 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature of liquid hydrogen, to more than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the engine during a firing. The BE-3 is the first new liquid-hydrogen rocket engine built for production since the RS-68, which was developed more than a decade ago for the Delta IV rocket family.

See here for discussion of Blue Origin's New Shepard and CCDev efforts.

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