John Carmack von Armadillo Aerospace hat in der neusten Pressemitteilung seine Meinung zum Testflug von Blue Origin geäußert:
I’m sure everyone that follows the Armadillo updates is already aware, but Blue Origin finally posted some public information about their first test flight:
They have experimental permit number 1, we have number 2. We did the first permitted flights at XPC shortly before their first test flight. It will be interesting to see how the relative test flights go in the coming year. We operate at a higher tempo, but their experimental permit already allows them to go up to higher altitudes.
I have zero inside information about Blue Origin, so my comments are strictly from the peanut gallery here. It’s HUUUUGE! I honestly think they are making a mistake doing a development vehicle that big, because it is going to cause much more anguish when it eventually crashes. While bigger doesn’t always mean more expensive, over broad ranges there is a strong correlation, and at least for suborbital tourism, I still don’t think bigger is actually better. I am in the demographic of potential space tourism customers, and I would rather have “my rocket flight” in a smaller vehicle than be stuffed in “the space tourism bus” with a half dozen other wealthy strangers. When we saw the weight listed in the papers filed with the FAA, I thought that the only reason to build a suborbital vehicle that large would be if you intended to also boost upper stages for orbital work, but it doesn’t look like the shown design would be appropriate for that. Maybe it is a subscale version of an SSTO, or a nearly-SSTO upper stage intended to be boosted by an even larger straight-up-straight-down VTVL (my preferred RLV path to orbit).
I still think peroxide has some good advantages, and I assume that an operation of their scale didn’t have the same difficulty dealing with FMC that we did (at least I would expect they went that way instead of running their own concentrator). Flying a monoprop vehicle and later transitioning to biprop is eminently sensible. Fixed (?) landing gear is sensible. I’m still not sold on pumps, which they are advertising for engineers to work on for future vehicles. It looks like they are spending a lot of money, which will be hard to recoup if the market is competitive. Of course, while being profitable is nice, Jeff Bezos doesn’t exactly have to worry about it if he doesn’t want to, and he can proceed as “slow and steady” as he feels like.
I would love to pick over all the technical decisions some time (hint hint!). Also on that note, for the Blue Origin folks that read these updates: if you have finally stepped out of your cone-of-silence, you should join the Personal Spaceflight Federation, so we can all have a unified front in dealing with the regulators, insurance companies, and so on.
Kleine Zusammenfassung auf deutsch:
Er kritisiert, dass der Prototyp so groß ist, weil bei einem eventuellem Crash der Schaden umso größer ist. Außerdem hat er die Vermutung, dass das Vehikel auch die Oberstufe für ein zweistufiges VTVL-Vehikel sein könnte (welches seine bevorzugte Methode für ein vollständig wiederverwendbares Trägersystem ist).
In diesem Zusammenhang vielleicht noch ein Zitat von www.hobbyspace.com
A reader suggests that Goddard might be a prototype for the crew module, which sits atop the propulsion module in the New Shepard configuration. According to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the "stacked vehicle would have a roughly conical shape with a base diameter of approximately 7 meters (22 feet) and a height of approximately 15 meters (50 feet)". Goddard looks to be about 7 meters. The EIS says that the actual New Shepard crew module will land by parachute after an abort separation from the propulsion module rather than by its own rocket power.
The EIS also says the first prototype will "be a low-altitude demonstrator of the propulsion module using approximately 2,042 kilograms (4,500 pounds) of HTP [high test peroxide] as a monopropellant, capable of reaching an altitude of no more than 610 meters (2,000 feet) with a mission time of less than one minute." That jives with the clear plumes from the engines. The propulsion module will use HTP and rocket propellant (RP) grade kerosene, which should produce a visible flame.
Mit anderen Worten: Das Testvehikel könnte der Prototyp eines zweiteiligen Vehikels bestehend aus dem Crewmodul und dem Antriebsmodul sein.
Das Testmodul benutzt nur Wasserstoffperoxid als Antrieb. Das fertige Schiff soll dann eine Mischung aus Wasserstoffperoxid und Kerosin benutzen.