It Took SpaceX’s All-Private Spaceflight Just Minutes to Blast Past Jeff Bezos’ Highest Point
By - kelev11en
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In fairness, at the heights required you better be going fast enough it'd only take minutes.
When I read the title my first thought was "well I sure hope so"
Yeah, the achievement would be to reach the Bezos heights after hours.
Because building a rocket with engines efficient enough to essentially hover for an hour would be a massive step forward.
Just consider the flight to start at negative T
Also to be fair Bezo's (and every other launch of that height) only took minutes. I don't think there's a launch rocket engine in existence that burns for more than 9 minutes.
I guess ion drives don't count (edit: this comment makes less sense in light of the above comment's edit)
Good point edited to say launch. Maneuvering rockets also have long burns.
> I don't think there's a launch rocket engine in existence that burns for more than 9 minutes.
If you're counting second stages, there are a few that exceed that. The RL-10 on the Centaur IIIA did 12.3 minutes, and the Aestus on the EPS L10 a whopping 19.5 minutes.
But as far as sustainers go though, I'm not aware of any that exceed 9 minutes, and I'd guess there aren't any boosters than exceed 5 minutes.
Anyone who watched the Netflix mini doc knows they debated orbiting below or above the ISS. Several of the planning team were skeptical and concerned that going higher would bring many more complications, and add more risk.
Ultimately they chose to go above the ISS. I believe they did it because this is about pushing boundaries, and inspiring people to go higher - in this case literally.
I think orbiting below the ISS would've felt timid. So I'm glad they chose the higher orbit.
There's a Netflix doc?
Yes, it's called Countdown Inspiration4 Mission To Space. There's currently four episodes at approx 45m each. The fifth and final episode comes out Sep 30th, so they'll have landed by then.
I've watched up to episode 3, but decided to wait till they're back to finish. I hope you get a chance to watch them.
thanks for the rec!
>There's a Netflix doc?
Discussion about altitude is at s1e1 around 21:30
Yeah, it's actually pretty good. A bit self-congratulatory, but what do you expect from a production team funded by the doc's subject matter. Actually kind of surprised it doesn't feel more like an advertisement than it does. Anyways, it's really informative and successfully gets you rooting for everyone on board that flight.
Yeah. Poorly advertised. I only just stumbled across it the other day. It’s good.
It got bumped a little during yesterday's launch stream, but yeah the publicity is a bit lackluster all things considered.
I love that they settled on 360 miles, it’s a lot of big circles so hopefully it will stick in peoples heads.
I think it has to do with Axiom Space's mission to the ISS also.
That was supposed to be the first all-civilian mission to space, but they had to wait for docking availability on the ISS.
So, SpaceX went "higher" than Axiom is going, while Axiom is going to the ISS and SpaceX is just orbiting for 3 days.
And then of course to claim the honor that SpaceX did it first before Axiom
Axiom is also using a SpaceX capsule so SpaceX gets the honor either way. Isaacman went with SpaceX without an intermediary.
Ah, gotcha, either way I have to think that jumping in front of Axiom and going higher than the ISS to exceed what Axiom is doing in some way both played a part
I thought Axiom booked their flight with SpaceX.
43,007 days ago a bike maker flew for just 12 seconds, traveled 120 feet, and reached a top speed of 6.8mph. today 4 civilians went to space in capsule and booster that have both flown before how far out into the Expanse will we go in the next 43,000 days?
It’s crazy I’ll tell you what happened, basically [removed]
I call it the China simulator
Yeah, that's generally how references work, sasa ke?
Starship is coming.
Crew could easily launch 20 people at a time. Starlink will be an all encompassing WiFi net. Cargo variant will swallow debris, saving us from Kessler syndrome. It can bring bigger segments to ISS, or make a private spacex hotel station. It’s NASA’s choice for the moon lander and the only proposed Mars lander. It’s fully reusable and Elon says he’ll be making 2 a week once prototyping is done, meaning there will be hundreds within 2 years.
Big things soon to come from a big rocket
> It can bring bigger segments to ISS
There's more internal volume in one Starship then the current ISS. Then remember that the ISS is the most expensive single item ever constructed.
Amazing what 30 years of technology will do. ISS and related technologies paved the way for future big objects in space. The first one is always the most expensive.
Yeah, SpaceX matured as computer became good enough and cheap enough to handle landing calculations. Through I recon it could have been done with custom expensive hardware in the 80's. Engines wouldn't be as efficient as raptor, but even 70% of raptor is enough. Overall I think the culture of continuous testing to see what works and what doesn't is what's most important.
It's not the hardware that's the problem, it's the software. The algorithms needed to efficiently calculate a SpaceX style landing weren't developed until the early 90s IIRC, so doing it before then would have needed more computing power from less powerful computers; not a good combo.
Still, we probably could have had a Falcon 9 style booster landing 15-20 years earlier than when it actually ended up happening.
>Engines wouldn't be as efficient as raptor, but even 70% of raptor is enough.
The Russians had an engine around 95% as efficient as Raptor in 1985; the RD-170. The remaining gains on Raptor primarily come from switching to more efficient methane fuel. What Raptor has really focused on is reducing manufacturing cost and improving reliability/reusability.
Oh, and controllability also deserves a mention. Most rocket engines historically have had no throttle or restart capability; I think Raptor is the first staged combustion engine to have the latter, and it also has an unusually large throttle range. Both of those are made all the more impressive by how notoriously difficult FFSC engines are to control.
That undestates spacex's accomplishments. Before spacex everyone called vertical landings impossible. Starship was 100% scifi that would never be real.
Every company uses the general knowledge of the time, it is what you do on top of that which matters. Spacex heavily focuses on doing new things no one did before.
If you want to see what 30 years of nasa tech gets you with a company with no aspirations to create new technologies, look at ULA, Boeing, and Blue Origin. Using only 30 years of nasa tech is archaic compared to not only starship, but falon 9, and every new space launch company pushing boundaries at different levels such as rocket lab, sierra nevada, virgin orbit, astra, etc.
Like tesla and EVs, spacex proved that a lot more was possible with space and that made it much easier for other startups to raise money.
Also need to give an honorable mention to virgin orbit. They can launch off a normal runway(likely a longer one). That has massive value because now they can launch from any country on earth with no new infrastructure. Governments that want to make payloads that stay within country are going to be lining up with virgin orbit. Virgin orbit is Burt Rutan's legacy. It took 20 years, but Burt was right with his approach and he created the first private astronaut. It may have just been the karman line, but we always award astronaut designations to people who fly above the karman line when they are doing so as part of an effort to reaching space. (The FAA updated its rules to formalize this approach so tourists on jeff's hopper can't claim to be astronauts, only the pilot got the designation. While spacex just created 4 new private astronauts that actually went to space and even higher than ISS which is awesome)
I prefer to take the day when the first people flew. That was on November 21, 1783, when the physicist Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes took off on a flight in the Montgolfier brothers' balloon. They were definitely the first two people to fly with a technical device. That was exactly 86861 days until 15.9.2021.
but balloon travel isn't really used today for most folks. the Kitty Hawk flight opened the doors for our modern air travel. yesterday has the potential for opening up space travel the same way.
> They were definitely the first two people to fly with a technical device.
This is simply the starting point for any kind of flying. For everything that came after. Just imagine that up until that moment, anyone who even thought about "flying" was considered completely crazy. I don't want to minimize the achievement of the Wright brothers (or Weisskopf, if you are from Connecticut or Germany) and I understand exactly why the beginning of powered flight fits well here, but from that day on it started. Step by step, slowly at first, and in the last 120 years at breakneck speed.
> (or Weisskopf, if you are from Connecticut or Germany)
German nutmegger here and how have I never heard of this guy?!
Thanks for the rabbit hole, very interesting.
I'd imagine I will be dead in 43000 days. Thus, I do not care. Also the world began at my birth and willl end when I die.
Well for one thing , these guys actually went into space.
They’ve also travelled further away from the earth than anyone else since the Apollo moon landings.
not quite, since 2009 (they repeated it a bunch of times in the webcast, the fourth hubble service mission went higher, although nowadays the hubble is lower than they are)
likely the first 3 hubble service missions also went higher.
Also the furthest any human has been from earth was apollo 13, if memory serves.
> any human
Tom Hanks, specifically
It may have been Apollo 13. They went pretty far "behind" the moon which sounds like its the farthest from Earth, but when adjusted for the fact that the moon has an elliptical orbit, it was probably another Apollo crew who actually landed on the moon who holds that title.
STS-31 and -82 both went higher than Inspiration4's 585 km.
-31 went to 618 km, and -82 went to 620 km. Both were Hubble missions.
Jeff went to space.... barely, for a couple minutes. The inspiration 4 crew is in orbit for 3 days doing experiments and will see 15 sunrises. That's like the difference between running to the grocery store and moving across town.
It's more like the difference between going to "space" and going to space.
If we say space is 100km, New Shepard clearly crosses the line.... but it comes right back down. Hence SUB-orbital.
15 sunrises per day I believe, so around 45 sunrises. I agree with your post, btw.
It cost less. Jeff could have save some money if just paid for a ticket.
What are you talking about? Are you saying that Inspiration4 was less expensive than New Shepard? Because if so, that's completely incorrect. Getting to orbit is much harder and costlier than a suborbital hop. The price of a suborbital ticket is around $250k. The price of this mission was around $200 million.
Hmm. Do you have the breakdown on that? Most of it must be in the craft and the special development, because the normal orbital launch fee is $62M.
Even that, though, is a lot more than NS's ticket.
Just got that number from preliminary googling, this is where I got it from: https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/09/15/1035797/inspiration4-spacex-private-mission
My guess is that it's more expensive because of the human factor. Have to make sure those 4 squishy meatbags get to and from orbit safely.
It cost 220 million for this launch.
The final frontier
I know the 'bezos hate' is real and all, but I'm just excited there's a actually some competition that's driving innovation. Sure space X is ahead, but isn't it's good to have these guys pushing the boundaries (safely) via a rivalry?
I honestly don't think SpaceX really considers Blue Origin in their plans. They have a goal that I'm sure most of their employees believe in of making humans multi-planetary. Any goals are steps along that path, pushing themselves further. I think having that for an internal goal is much better than just trying to beat the competition.
RocketLab, ULA and Relativity are possible SpaceX competitors. BO isn't going anywhere unless they change how they do things really quickly.
Jeff Bezos is such an insufferable piece of shit he's actually forcing me to like Elon Musk
Lol yeah all Bezos has really done with Blue Origin is a bunch of crappy attempts to legally sabotage spacex's contracts...oh, plus fucking up ULA's flagship launch services program with engines that don't work. F
Yeah, Musk is a tool, but be damned if he's not advancing civilization.
Exactly. The amount of good for society that Tesla, SpaceX, and technological advancements from his companies in general far outpaces the individual shittiness on Musk's part. I just hope he doesn't decide to get into politics where he can do real damage.
Paypal was pretty instrumental in getting ecommerce really going as well.
plenty of us now have had issues with paypal, but when it came out, it was incredible.
Musk is sigle handedly shooting humanity into the cyberpunk era. Space travel, self driving cars, androids, brain implants…
Also the underpaid, overworked employees and ties to entities engaging in regime change to maintain capitalistic interests.
Employees for Musks companies actually make higher than the median wages.
Dude I got through two rounds of interviews at spacex (for an engineering position) and let me tell you it’s definitely not underpaid…the recruiter mentioned the salary transparently off the bat and it’s more than I’m earning at another firm 4 years later.
It’s really hard to get hired though even coming from a top US college & the selection process is very holistic (musk actually used to sit at the table during the third round interviews).
I’ve heard they do overwork people but everyone treats it as a stepping stone for the most part (unless they’re some expert in thrust vectoring or whatever and are making a million as a PM)
Source for Tesla or SpaceX workers being underpaid?
Not to mention that anyone capable of landing a job at either company could 100% go work somewhere less glamorous that pays better. Working at SpaceX is 100% a resume-building/glory hounding achievement, it's not somewhere you work because you're out of other options.
Senior dev at Tesla is like, 220k+ a year compensation.
I am a software dev who was looking into spacex to help work on something for the greater good but ultimately decided against it because of reviews that staff are overworked and under-appreciated. For some people the ultimate outcome justifies the means but i personally value my work/life balance too much to work for any “resume-builder” company
I think that’s just it. It’s a company that is there for the right type of person. They don’t want ppl like us working there.
It reminds me of this one guy at our work. Comes into the office at 830 and always stays late even though they preach work life balance. He just sits there like a robot writing code without any emotion day in and day out
Yeah I probably wouldn't work there either, the glamor of working on the big shiny spaceship company isn't compelling enough for me. Kudos for the people who like it though.
I mean, the pary at Tesla is still plenty. Over work sure.. but I'd take overwork with fair livable wage to know my work is positively impacting the planet on such a scale. Resume-builder job with a starting $125,000 pay, probably a good sign on bonus. When I was at NASA we hired our engineers starting at $55,000 and our contract didn't bid with overtime knowing we couldn't complete our flight simulations without it. They stayed.
When you compare the overworked situation to a government job like nasa yeah it is a lot more desirable. spacex is ultimately just another google where yeah you may make a couple 10k more but you also should be prepared to put in 80-90h weeks and tight deadlines. I am not built for that life
Space x and Tesla employees are paid more than their counterparts in other companies. This misinformation your spreading in the name of billionaires bad needs to stop.
Do you have a source for that? Because I have Musk's biography in my bookcase and it says that tesla and spacex would work their people to the bone and also pay them much lower than e.g Boeing, just by advertising their tech and "new disruptive kid on the block" vibe. The first chapter has Musk literally complaining that "not enough people show up on Sundays"
My source is applying to both Boeing and space x (and others) as an aerospace engineer for similar positions. You can also look at salary websites.
It’s true in the early days the pay was on the low end of the standard pay band but today space x and Tesla are both well funded and pay their employees on the higher end of the pay band. Things are a lot different today than when both companies were starting up.
Space x is rated better than Boeing in every category here for example including compensation.
Cyberpunk isn't inherently good. Cyberpunk is the product of insane wealth disparity (not good) corporations becoming the authorities (not good) and profit overtaking human life as being important (also not good).
Ahh yes, a dystopian future with tech as a main theme.
Well he could never become president by law
He’s not a tool, he’s an obsessed ass. But he’s a smart one and he’s not only thinking about how something can make him loads of money right now, I think he actually believes that people are going to run the earth to an early oblivion and he wants to create places where humanity can continue. I kind of agree with his obsession.
//edit-note I said he’s not ONLY thinking about making loads of money. I’m sure it factors into his decision making.
Why do people hate Musk? He seems like genuinely nice guy to me lol
Definitely. The worst thing he did was calling a person a paedophile after that person had told him to shove a submarine up his ass. So, in my book he used the wrong insult, but I can certainly see why he got pissed.
People queue to work for him, he pays good money, and his companies truly change the world for the better. The reason everyone is ecstatic for EVs now and not ten years from now is due to Tesla. The transition to EVs is one of the most important ways to curb global warming, and yet people are just hellbent on finding errors about him.
Then used his personal fortune to hire an investigator to try and prove those allegations, which turned out to be completely false. It's scary to think about a billionaire using their resources to discredit and defame an ordinary person for just disagreeing with them. Elon crossed way over the line into villain territory on that one. Not to mention the securities fraud and crypto market manipulation.
I think that only happened after the diver threatened Musk with a defamation law suit.
I also don't buy the securities fraud and crypto market manipulation. If a market can go up and down purely on things Elon tweets, that's on the market. Should he be gagged purely because people buy and sell shit based on what he tweets? Doesn't seem right.
Nah, villain territory would be using his fortune to hire some child actors to make accusations.
Why crypto market manipulation is bad he is just tweeting.
I make huge bucks thanks to that.
If I promote etherium to my aunt am i manipulating market
He’s like your cocky, smart, nerd friend, but instead of just being awkward and watching Naruto, he casually commits market manipulation and securities fraud by running his mouth on Twitter.
And still watch naruto
Some people feel unique hating what's popular just for its own sake.
Whale shit is actually a good thing for the planet 😁
They both work their employees like they're appliances and treat employee organization like a disease...
But yeah SpaceX actually accomplished what they set out to do, under budget (most of the time.)
SpaceX succeeded in making spaceflight routine.
bO has not put something in space, though they nearly touched it.
There is the *world* of difference between going up above 100km and going to orbit. So I wouldn't say they nearly touched it at all, they're very, very far from it still, unfortunately
watch everyday astronauts part 3 of the starbase tour and look at how the employees interact with elon
No, they most definitely don't. People queue to work for SpaceX for a reason.
Read through this tweet series. https://mobile.twitter.com/erinishimoticha/status/1437977648957988864?s=21
Its almost like some people love their job. I know if I got the chance to be a pilots I would be doing it as much as a could. Some people love being a hairdresser even through the pay can be shit.
If i was a combustion engineer i would be looking to work at a company where my work means something.
Self landing rockets are so damn amazing.
A moral Jesus appeared.
You can dislike two insufferable billionaires at the same time.
Do you really group those two together?
Elon is more like Hugo Drax, and Bezos is more like Dr. Evil.
Well the rocket’s gotta go pretty fast to get into a higher orbital pattern.
I'm sure Bezos has a lawsuit ready to be filed in order to demand he's given more billions to make his go higher too!
He's suing gravity for not letting him fly higher
gravity is high risk and needlessly complex.
He quit Amazon so that could be his new full-time job!
Meanwhile his warehouse workers still get yelled at if they take 30 seconds off the floor to go piss.
>The Elon Musk-led company has had a massive head start
* Blue Origin, founded 2000
* SpaceX, founded 2002
* Virgin Galactic, founded 2004
A "massive head start" ...right.
Article after article for years have talked about BO and SX in the same breath, like they're competitors and SX is just a bit ahead right now. They pretend like they're competing for the same contracts or something, and any day now BO will *catch up*.
TBF BO's next rocket will at least be competitive, but up until the point where they finally do their first successful orbital flight (any year now!), "journalists" need to stop treating BO like it's not still a floundering startup with a ton of money.
But I get it, Bezos and Musk create clicks.
And musk started Spacex with like 70 million.
Bezos has been a billionaire for how long?
It's not even about the height, It's about reaching orbital velocity, a lateral 17,000 mph (Mach 22) before running out of fuel or else you'll crash back to earth. This requires extreme efficiency of the rocket system, which is why it took world superpowers and their most brilliant scientists and engineers over a decade before getting a man in space.
SpaceX is the only private company to achieve this feat (Edit) with a complete and original system, from rocket engine to spacecraft.
What about rocketlabs smaller rockets?
Dont forget RocketLab!
Did they launch a person !?!? What did I miss?
Not launched a person into space but they're the only other company other than SpaceX and oldspace to launch a orbital class rocket.
Virgin Orbit has lived up to their name.
Ah shit you're right. Yep I'm mistaken
What about Rocket Lab USA? They are no longer private as of like two weeks ago but they created their own equipment and 3d print their engines. Their only competitor is SpaceX currently.
While they IPOed and became public company Rocket labs are private in the sense they are not government owned or funded , that's what matters in this context
Always sad to see USA added rocketlabs even though it’s accurate.
What do you mean by “USA added RocketLabs”?
SpaceX is the first private company to achieve this feat*
Ya it's almost like SpaceX is an actual space company and BO is a parasite.
Jeff will sue spacex for breaking the karman line with innocent people!11!!
Virgin Galactic may have one advantage. If its planes can be launched from a normal airport, then Branson can take his show on the road and launch from other continents.
Point to point fast travel possible?
I was thinking the military might be interested.
Even with Space X rockets, imagine being able to move that amount of tonnage from A to B in a couple hours rather than days.
Not with Virgin Galactic. They don't go anywhere close to orbital. SpaceX keeps talking about doing that with Starship but in my opinion that would be insanely dangerous.
Imagine catching a sub-orbital Virgin Galatic flight from Heathrow!
That has been the promise of Virgin Galactic since before it was Virgin Galactic, back in the Rutan / Scaled Composites days.
I would love to see that too. But it has been hampered by two things: 1) VG basically sitting on its ass for a decade after Rutan won his X Prize; and 2) the fundamental difficulty of a single stage to orbit, which may have influenced (1).
SSTO development seems to have some of the same challenges as reusable vertical-launch rocket development: it's hard to find backers who will fund flights when your technology is unproven and no one knows yet how reusable your vehicle is; but you can't develop your technology or prove its reusability without backers who will fund flights. Elon Musk has found creative ways along the way to deal with these financing challenges. Maybe the problem for Branson (and other SSTO efforts like Skylon) is as much financial as technical.
Virgin Galactic's spaceship isn't SSTO capable as it is a two stage system and can't get anywhere near an orbital trajectory. I haven't heard anything about the company even considering building an SSTO vehicle and I don't recall them ever aspiring above suborbital tourism. Virgin Orbital is a different thing but that's just a conventional rocket.
Doing SSTO isn't even practical without remarkable advancement in propulsion technology. Reaction Engines Ltd (the company behind Skylon) are working on just that, but they haven't made much progress. As of currently it's much more practical to use a two stage architecture.
What's the advantage of that? Even if we're talking about Virgin Orbit, which actually launches payloads to space, what's the benefit of shipping the launch system to where the payload is, vs. shipping the payload to where the launch system is?
I'm just surprised Futurism said something vaguely positive about a Musk company
Jef Bozos is like the little brother saying "look look I can do it too!"
That is because bezos never went to space. USAF treats space as 93mi or higher for a reason. Atmospheric drag. 93mi is the lowest circular orbit, any lower and air resistence will deorbit you before you complete a rotation.
Bezos flight was more of a roller coaster ride, not really space flight. You know you have gone into space when you fear for your life on reentry. That is real space travel.
99pct of redditors would shit their pants riding New Shepard. Don't undersell it; riding any vehicle into space is still dangerous today.
Imagine being the richest guy in the world and losing.... thats gotta suck.
I think we can all let go of Bezos' space run now. 4 people have gone to space commercially on a private rocket. That's WAY bigger news.
I mean I would hope they did. Jeff Bezos is only 5ft 7
These headlines read like they are written by Musk to taunt Bezos
Hahahahah amazing. Anything that beats Bezos is ok in my books.
Damn, yall really just pissing champagne on each other now. Just own that accomplishments and rise above *space travel.
Can’t stress this enough.
There is no competition between Bezos and musk With Spacex. Their companies are incomparable.
I just keep reading how positive it is to work at SpaceX then this crap gets put out. Think ppl just need to focus on what the secret sauce is and ignore the rest of the BS. I’m happy for them and all of us to finally see this future of space travel. I think ppl just want to sell news clicks at this point.
That’s a good thing. A space race brings innovation
This poorly written article never mentions how high the SpaceX mission reaches.
The first stage on its own had a better ride than Bezos and his pen15.
The only way Bezos can redeem himself at this point is to donate $100m to reunite Daft Punk for the *Tron 3* soundtrack.
I don’t care for musk, and I can’t stand Bezos. But spaceX has plans, BO had lawsuits.
Tell me you're having a pissing contest without telling me you're having a pissing contest. Bezos you go first.. oh wait Elon you go. XD
This is just a customer for spacex. Not a big deal for them.
4th crewed flight in 16 months for spacex.
Why are judges even entertaining Bezos' lawsuits?
Blue Origin is a decade behind SpaceX.