9 thoughts on “The New Space Race”

  1. Blue Origin is a *looong* ways behind SpaceX. 19 years and nothing in orbit. SpaceX flew more missions this year than Blue Origin has flown in its combined existence.

    Any idea why Dr. Foust published that at IEEE Spectrum and not on SpaceNews or Space Review?

    1. I’d agree that SpaceX is ahead of BO, but I’m not sure the lead is so huge. Assuming New Glenn can fly by, say, 2021, I would say it in some sense puts BO less than 3 years behind SpaceX, which first flew the somewhat larger but less advanced (e.g., no high-performance lox-methane engines) Falcon Heavy in 2018.

      BO is also likely better funded. Bezos can and, so he says, does sell a billion dollars’ worth of Amazon stock every year for BO’s benefit, whereas SpaceX is dependent on operating income and multiple rounds of fund raising. Though BO is behind today, I think it is likely gaining on SpaceX.

      1. It will be interesting to see how things play out if NewGlenn is successful in the near future and how quickly the competition changes after that if SH/S comes to the market shortly after.

        All of the near term launchers look fairly similar in capabilities, except that NewGlenn has a much larger fairing diameter. That is a differentiation that could have make a big difference for companies like Bigelow.

  2. I can’t figure why the Bezos effort doesn’t have a little more urgency. He is older than Musk although I like his aim of an O’Neill like future in cislunar space.
    Musk OTOH, has what seems like a much better approach. Test, fly, fail sometimes, fix the problem, test, fly etc on a fast cycle.
    Then again Musk is a global warmunist although I sometimes wonder if he really buys into that. He does have a large financial incentive, after all but clearly hasn’t done the numbers on the CO2 emission reduction effort and doesn’t appear to be promoting nuclear electricity generation.
    I worry about the health and longevity of both. Musk looks like he needs to go low carb, ditch any active role in Tesla and relax a little while having fun at SpaceX as long as he doesn’t get in Gwynn’s way too much.

    1. Yeah, he’s put on some pounds – I think he’s been stress eating the sweets. However, his hair looks fantastic vs. his paypal days – wonder what his secret is.

    2. Good news, Musk has less of a role at Tesla now, heh.

      Bezos has gone a different route. While Musk has worked with NASA and the government, they also try to work alone. Bezos has sunk his tendrils deep into government and the competition. Perhaps a longer process but one that sets BO up for longevity.

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