Buzz Aldrin Flies with the Thunderbirds over Kennedy Space Center

“Good to get back in the cockpit”, said Buzz Aldrin as he strapped into a Thunderbird F-16 for a flight over NASA’s Kennedy Space Center & nearby Cape Canaveral AFS. Photo Credit: Buzz Aldrin via Facebook

Florida’s Space Coast has been roaring to the sound of rockets and jets this past week; SpaceX successfully launched their first reused booster with the SES-10 satellite (and landed it again, successfully), and the USAF Thunderbirds have been shredding the skies nearby at the Melbourne Air & Space Show all weekend, along with many others (including Patrouille de France, the French equivalent of the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds).

But today (Sunday, April 2), unknown to many ahead of time, the Thunderbirds were joined by one of the few humans who have ever stepped foot on another world. The second man to walk on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, was in town to fly with the team over the place where he left the Earth from nearly 50 years ago.

Buzz Aldrin getting fitted for his O2 mask, prior to taking flight over NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with the USAF Thunderbirds. Photo Credit: USAF Thunderbirds

Known as “America’s Ambassadors in Blue”, the Thunderbirds represent nearly 700,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, and civilian Airmen across America and deployed around the world, flying at air shows across the nation each year to demonstrate the pride, professionalism and precision that all airmen represent.

The former astronaut and retired USAF Colonel strapped in with Thunderbird #7, Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, to fly in the team’s 4-ship Diamond Formation before the start of Sunday’s air show, taking flight over KSC Launch Complex 39A; the place where he launched to the moon from so many years ago.

 – Read, “Totally Different Moon, The Arrival of Apollo 11”

“In 1969, Buzz Aldrin broke barriers and set foot on the moon. He is a true American hero and pioneer. We are proud of his accomplishments and the legacy he represents every day”, noted the team in a Facebook post after their flight.

“For the 70 years the Air Force has been around, Col. Aldrin has been an integral part of it. In Korea, 66 missions and two confirmed MIG kills, how many of you has that?”, said Thunderbird #1, Lt. Col. Jason Heard, as he pointed to his colleagues.

“Sir we are so proud of the time you spent in the Air Force, but you went on to do even more for our nation as an astronaut,” he added. “You walked on the moon, and I think that just blows most of our minds to be honest. To fly over the Cape with you was a real honor”

Aldrin replied with thanks, and followed by opening up his flight suit to reveal a “Get Your Ass to Mars” t-shirt, saying “you guys haven’t seen nothing yet”.

Aldrin is one of the leading figures advocating not only sending humans to explore Mars, but establishing a permanent human presence there; and sooner rather than later.

After taking a photo with Thunderbird 1, Aldrin said “Blue Angels”, and gave a thumbs down; just typical USAF vs NAVY pilot stuff and all in good fun, which drew laughs and clapping from the Thunderbirds and others in attendance. But he seemed a little disappointed at only pulling 2 Gs, rather than up to 9 Gs which the team does for their solo-ship media & VIP flights.

The Thunderbirds photobombing the moon at this weekend’s Air &B Space show in Melbourne, FL. Photo Credit: John Kraus / AmericaSpace

“What a tribute to true teamwork”, said Aldrin. “Every man stands for every man, into the wild blue yonder until it turns black. Thank all of you very much,” he added.

At 87 years old, Aldrin is now the oldest person to have ever flown with the USAF demonstration team.

Aldrin is most famous for his Apollo 11 moon landing with Neil Armstrong, a truly historic and monumental achievement in human history. But Aldrin also played a pivotal role in Project Gemini, flying the Gemini XII mission with Jim Lovell to demonstrate many of the capabilities that NASA needed to achieve the late President John F. Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon.

As noted in a previous Gemini XII story by AmericaSpace Senior Writer Ben Evans:

“Lovell and Aldrin’s four-day mission demonstrated rendezvous, docking, gravity gradient tethered operations, and the ability of skilled human pilots to calculate a rendezvous with sextants and charts and a slide rule and pencil. Such human skills, using, in Aldrin’s own words, the “Mark One Cranium Computer,” had relaxed managers’ concerns about the viability of astronauts being able to perform a manual rendezvous, if necessary, in orbit around the Moon.”

Aldrin’s flight Sunday took him over NASA’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building where his moon rocket was integrated with its lunar lander and spacecraft, as well as the launch pad he thundered off of to reach the moon, which is now being leased by SpaceX. Just recently, the company began flying their Falcon-9 rockets from the former Apollo and space shuttle launch site, and eventually, the company hopes to launch their own Mars missions from there as well.

NASA meanwhile is also working on their own path to Mars, developing the Orion and Space Launch System to put boots on Mars sometime in the later 2030s.

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BELOW: PHOTOS from Buzz Aldrin’s flight over KSC Sunday, April 2 
CREDIT: USAF Thunderbirds & Buzz Aldrin

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29 comments to Buzz Aldrin Flies with the Thunderbirds over Kennedy Space Center

  • James

    “Flights then test rigid XM2 exploration modules at manned lunar stations, remotely assembling and connecting the international lunar bases, and initiate tele-robotics for in-situ resources, asteroid exploration and sample extraction. Once lunar far-side and nearside bases have been assembled and vital experience gained, beginning in 2028 (before first humans to Mars) and by 2034–nine unoccupied 3rd generation exploration modules (XM3) would be launched to Mars and two habs to Phobos.”

    And, “This plan renounces America’s goal of being first on the moon (again) in a new Space Race with the Chinese, but rather encourages America to initiate a lunar consortium where international partners—China, Europe, Russia, India, Japan—would do the lion’s share of the planning, technical development and funding for manned missions back to the moon.”

    And, “‘For these long-duration missions we need an entirely new spacecraft that I call the Exploration Module, or XM. Unlike the Orion capsule, which is designed for short flights around the Earth and to the moon, the XM would contain the radiation shields, artificial gravity, food-production and recycling facilities necessary for a spaceflight of up to three years,’ explains Buzz.”

    And, “The last step toward Mars, around 2025, would be a landing on the planet’s 17-mile-wide moon, Phobos, which orbits less than 4000 miles above Mars. A Phobos base would be the perfect perch from which to monitor and control the robots that will build the infrastructure on the Martian surface, in preparation for the first human visitors.”

    From: ‘Cycling Pathways to Mars Buzz’s plan to land humans on Mars by 2035’
    At: https://buzzaldrin.com/space-vision/advocacy/cycling-pathways-to-occupy-mars/

    Yep! Pretty nifty plan! Not likely many states, countries, or businesses will sign up for it until we dump the idea of pumping lots more taxpayer money into the pockets of some of our highly politically partisan Silicon Valley billionaires…

    California has some real money and economic issues, but more government subsidies to some of the Silicon Valley politically partisan billionaires probably won’t help solve California’s basic economic and political issues.

    One of the great things about Blue Origin is that they want to do Lunar missions with NASA and, unlike SpaceX, aren’t whining about getting NASA to fund their big launchers or super costly Mars colonies.

    SpaceX appears to represent crony capitalism in direct competition with and making demands on NASA’s budget and resources, while Blue Origin is seen as perhaps a much more normal business that builds its own launchpads and launchers without the need to suck the blood, oooopps, I mean money and resources, out of NASA and US taxpayers.

    Congressional folks from many states, and politicians from many countries, might prefer to work out Lunar plans with NASA and Blue Origin over a government subsidized Martian company like SpaceX…

    National and international politics and political perceptions of fairness will get us back to the Moon to tap its resources and prepare the Home Planet for doing missions, building colonies, and doing business wherever we want to in our Solar System.

    If you ignore national and international politics and fairness, you sabotage our Home Planet’s efforts to give humanity many new homes across our Solar System.

    • James

      “Elon Musk has hit back at claims that President Donald Trump’s new NASA bill will be good for his space exploration business, saying it does nothing to get SpaceX’s mission to Mars off the ground.”

      From: ‘Elon Musk slams Donald Trump’s NASA bill saying it does nothing to help mission to Mars’
      By Karen Gilchrist CNBC March 22, 2017
      At: https://www.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-slams-donald-trumps-090332240.html

      Yikes!

      Maybe someone needs to tell Mr. Musk that he doesn’t own NASA’s budget and that the new President may have other priorities, like fixing highways, instead of further enriching Silicon Valley billionaires…who almost all supported the other presidential candidate in the last election.

      Nahhhh, let Mr. Musk and the Silicon Valley billionaires remain in the Democratic Party lala land where they feel comfortable and well-loved.

      “Some have tried to convince me that this is still a win for America because capitalism has made it possible for a corporation to accomplish a feat so gigantic, but I disagree. They would be right if Space X weren’t so heavily subsidized with taxpayer funds — at least $5.5 billion in federal grants from NASA and the U.S. Air Force according to the Los Angeles Times — not to mention numerous tax incentives, which total more than $20 million.”

      And, “Space X’s CEO, Elon Musk, is a pretty shady dude who preys on taxpayers by pressing on progressive lawmakers’ soft spot for renewable energy. I hate that Space X is our great hope at getting to Mars, and I hate that our space program is dependent upon Musk — whose corporate portfolio is propped up by government subsidies and tax breaks. His other companies, namely SolarCity and Tesla, have a reputation of sucking the marrow from taxpayers in the form of mandates, rebates, and tax breaks.”

      And, “New York taxpayers funded SolarCity’s $750 million dollar manufacturing plant in the hope it would get a return on investment in the form of tax revenue. But a lot of the details of the agreement between the state and the company are being kept secret from the public.”

      From: ‘My Love-Hate Relationship With Space X’s Elon Musk’ By Bre Payton 12/23/2015
      At: http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/23/my-love-hate-relationship-with-space-xs-elon-musk/

      Yep, Mr. Musk’s Mars missions and colonies certainly could end up “sucking the marrow from taxpayers” and that “marrow” and taxpayer money might help to make him the Home Planet’s first trillionaire…

      Lots of politicians would love to be friends with a trillionaire. Of course, Jeff Bezos might achieve that status first without even grabbing a ton of government subsidies and NASA assets.

      And Jeff Bezos wants to work with NASA and he thinks we should build an affordable base on the Moon. That sounds similar to what Buzz Aldrin wants to see happen. Maybe those two guys should sit down and have a long talk.

      • That’s an awful long unrelated rant on a story about a moonwalker flying with the Thunderbirds…

        • …awful long unrelated rant

          As always, his “rants” are 95% other people’s material that he copies & pastes into his posts.
          James (aka Lunar Miner) doesn’t possess the intellect, ambition or courage to create his own blog or website, so he abuses his privilege to comment on AmericaSpace with his bizarre, off-topic rip-offs. At least it’s humorous when he replies to himself over and over.

          For the benefit of other readers, I’ve gone out of my way to explain the economics of preserving unused launch pads in the corrosive Florida environment, but James has the financial savvy of a six-year-old child, so it never sinks in. It’s the same with basic physics concepts, James can’t grasp the difference between a 5 MeV alpha decay, or a 5 TeV relativistic ion; radiation be radiation, so James will continue to waste bandwidth with his interminable, out-of-context, copy/pastes – it’s what he does.

          • Tom's Drinking Game

            As always, you think you own this forum and nobody should say anything except you and a select few of your NewSpace cronies. So you make personal attacks filled with vile insults as if you have a perfect right to be a creep. It is what you are.

          • James

            SE Jones –

            “Without good radiation protection, a crewmember would rapidly accumulate a lifetime radiation dose and be forced to retire.”

            And, “For a permanent ci-lunar base that needs little or no station keeping, a layer of at least three to four meters of water or equivalent fully surrounding the crew would be needed.”

            From: ‘The cislunar gateway with no gate, revisited’ By John K. Strickland 3/20/2017
            At: http://thespacereview.com/article/3200/1

            Yep, most astronauts and folks in Congress probably want NASA to have beyond LEO human carrying spacecraft with good radiation protection.

            Lots of ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ folks don’t seem to want to address the Galactic Cosmic Radiation issue because good radiation shielding adds big costs to Elon Musk’s fantasy Mars missions. And when anyone points out the issue the pseudo Martians love to hurl insults and whine.

            Note:

            “Unlike the Orion capsule, which is designed for short flights around the Earth and to the moon, the XM would contain the radiation shields, artificial gravity, food-production and recycling facilities necessary for a spaceflight of up to three years,’ explains Buzz.”

            From: ‘Cycling Pathways to Mars Buzz’s plan to land humans on Mars by 2035’
            At: https://buzzaldrin.com/space-vision/advocacy/cycling-pathways-to-occupy-mars/

            Buzz ‘gets it’ even if you don’t want to.

            • Pointing out your constant misunderstanding of papers on radiation shielding for terrestrial physics experiments is NOT the same thing as not addressing radiation protection in spaceflight, you A-hole.

              Aldrin points out the difference between his XM and the short range Orion, but you, being completely clueless, throw up a strawman about Elon Musk and “Mars folks”. Since when did Musk or myself, say anything about travel to Mars in an Orion capsule? Never – you just make stuff up because you possess the understanding and emotional maturity of an eight-year-old child.

              Incidentally, I helped found the Mars Society in 1998 along with Buzz Aldrin. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him on planning for this great adventure. “Work” being the operative word, we in the Society work toward our goals, while guys like you can’t even be bothered to pick up a book and learn some basics, you just spend all your time skimming material you don’t understand to copy & paste.

              • James

                “Any plans the company has for Martian exploration would probably have to involve the U.S government in some capacity, leaving Musk eager to know where he stands.”

                ‘Elon Musk Slams President Trump’s Mars Plans’ By David Grossman 3/22/17
                At: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/news/a25774/elon-musk-slams-president-trumps-mars-plans/

                I wonder if Mr. Musk knows anything about fixing highways and bridges…

                Maybe Mr. Musk suspects “where he stands” is in deep and irrelevant mud and he is trying to climb out of the mud and head to the Moon.

                I have helped to build and maintain some roads, so I might have more experience in that area than some folks. Building roads on the Moon with robots could be lots of fun for folks everywhere on the Home Planet.

                The large and wide SLS is probably the best launcher for any big new modules at the International Space Station and lots of International Orion Moon missions.

                “COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) – Russia is open to extending its partnership in the International Space Station with the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada beyond the currently planned end of the program in 2024, the head of the Russian space agency said on Tuesday.”

                From: ‘Russia open to extending international space station partnership: agency chief’ By Irene Klotz Reuters April 5, 2017

                Do I hear some ‘Mars Soon and Cheaply Too’ guys screaming complaints and insults because lots of folks do not want to destroy a scientifically and diplomatically useful 100 billion dollar laboratory in LEO?

                Nahhhh, they’re mainly busy whining about Buzz Aldrin, Jeff Bezos, and most space experts around the world wanting a permanent human presence on the Moon to tap its resources.

            • Tracy the Troll

              James,
              GCR shielding is already being worked on….

              http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a16757/cern-spaceship-shields/

              So I am not really seeing the need for large amounts of water or other material for heavy shielding…And if you note the article date in 2015 my guess is that this work is well under way…Also did you happen to notice the new SSTO rocket system using an aerospike engine…and completely reusable?

              http://www.arcaspace.com/en/haas2c.htm

          • James

            “Boeing unveiled preliminary design concepts this week for a deep space station that would orbit the moon as a base for humans to safely explore space from the moon to Mars.”

            “Called the Deep Space Gateway, the habitat would be a base for research, a safe haven for astronauts in the dangerous radiation of deep space, and a dock for a transport vehicle that would ferry astronauts from the station to Mars and back.”

            From: “Boeing unveils ‘Deep Space Gateway’ stepping stones to Mars” By Lee Roop 4/4/17

            Yikes! Whoever said “the dangerous radiation of deep space” had best be prepared for the nasty attacks of the pseudo Martians!

        • James

          “NASA meanwhile is also working on their own path to Mars, developing the Orion and Space Launch System to put boots on Mars sometime in the later 2030s.” – Mike Killian

          Really? Where is the doable and affordable Mars plan? The “moonwalker flying with the Thunderbirds” also has a plan to get folks from all over the Home Planet building bases on the Moon, Phobos, and Mars. Maybe his plan is much more useful than:

          “Guess what: no one knows what is going on. Seriously. From the White House on down, no one knows where space policy is going.”

          From: ‘Space Policy: No One Knows What Is Going On’ By Keith Cowing on March 29, 2017
          At: http://www.nasawatch.com/

          “More likely, the absence of #JourneyToMars reflects how the new administration has given almost no public support for the concept. Indeed, there are signs that any Trump space plan will involve lunar activity, at least in the short term. (In the meantime, NASA remains in complete limbo. There is no clear direction, and factions within the Trump administration are warring about the agency’s priorities).”

          From: ‘NASA has essentially stopped tweeting about the #JourneyToMars
          It seems unlikely any directive has come down from the Trump administration.’
          By Eric Berger 3/21/2017
          At: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/03/nasa-has-essentially-stopped-tweeting-about-the-journeytomars/?comments=1

          Maybe we’ll focus on rebuilding and improving our highways and bridges and the ISS and on being happy about those useful infrastructure accomplishments.

          Time will tell.

  • Tracy the Troll

    James,
    Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos)has written a 7 page proposal to Trump asking for help in funding moonbases.. Musk’s push to reduce launch costs is worth government subsidies because it is working…Remember the shuttle was supposed to fly every week at least and …Then Lockheed had the X-33 and Venture Star that was going to launch everyday which cost NASA $1B in 1992 dollars and then all of the research exclusively belongs to Lockheed so NASA got ZERO out of it…James you do realize that Musk has had a lot of help from the Military right?

    • James

      Tracy the Troll –

      “James you do realize that Musk has had a lot of help from the Military right?”

      Yep. Let’s hope it was a good investment.

    • Musk has had a lot of help from the Military right?
      Do you mean like when SpaceX had to file a lawsuit in Federal Court to even be allowed to compete with ULA for U.S. Air Force launches? That’s allowed to compete, not necessarily win contracts – just simply compete.

      Musk has had a lot of help from the Military right?
      Right…like when, for the Commercial Crew Development program, the mega giant defense contractor Boeing was awarded $92.3 million for its CST-100 capsule, but the small, 15-year-old SpaceX only received $75 million for Dragon-2 work.

      The top-tier defense contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics et al. have collectively made $trillions in DOD profits since the 1940s, the 15-year-old SpaceX isn’t even a blip.

      http://www.americaspace.com/2014/04/25/spacex-filing-suit-against-u-s-air-forces-3-billion-no-bid-bulk-buy-of-36-ula-rockets/

    • James

      Tracy the Troll –

      “‘We believe that the lunar surface offers valuable resources, with valuable science return that can serve as a location to demonstrate key technologies and serve as an appropriate location for that long-term permanent settlement,’ Meyerson said. ‘We also believe the moon is in sequence for long-term exploration of the solar system, including Mars.'”

      From: ‘Blue Origin space venture slips in a sneak peek at design of Blue Moon lunar lander’
      By Alan Boyle 4/5/2017
      At: http://www.geekwire.com/2017/blue-origin-sneak-peek-blue-moon-lunar-lander/

      Blue Origin is headed to the Moon with NASA or maybe with our space exploration partners and other folks if NASA’s leadership continues to keep their eyes closed and cannot see the diplomatic, economic, and national security benefits of providing leadership in tapping and developing Lunar resources, industries, and other business opportunities.

      “As of September 21, 2016, Bezos owned 80.9 million shares of Amazon stock, being 16.9% of all shares outstanding, with a market value of $69.3 billion.[33]”

      From: ‘Jeff Bezos’ Wikipedia

      Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin can afford to help lead businesses and international folks in building the Moon Village and tapping Lunar resources.

      “The Moon Village concept got an endorsement from Yulong Tian, secretary general of the China National Space Administration.”

      And, “Later missions, Tian said, would include missions to the lunar poles, thought to have deposits of water ice that could support future human bases. “In the coming five to 10 years we have a few more missions to the polar regions of the moon, including establishment of a lunar base, or part of the Moon Village,” he said.”

      From: ‘Space agency heads see the moon on the path to Mars’
      by Jeff Foust 4/5/2017
      At: http://spacenews.com/space-agency-heads-see-the-moon-on-the-path-to-mars/#sthash.PF2Wl3Ig.dpuf

      Yep, with or without NASA, humans are going back to the Moon to set up a permanent ISRU Moon Village.

      • Tracy the Troll

        James,
        I like Blue Origin but….He will not have an orbital rocket until 2020 and that available for testing…I have to believe he will go through a “exploding” learning curve just like everybody else. I just think Musk is way ahead of Bezos on the way to the moon.. Bezos is rich yes but he is spending only a $1B a year in R&D but he is at least 10 years away …Not that that is bad. Maybe other partners will emerge.

        later this year Musk launches the F9H and then follows up with the Moon trip private venture and then he is launches some Moon Express contestants this year or early 2018..

        So the Moon will be much much closer this year for everybody.

        • James

          Tracy the Troll –

          “So the Moon will be much much closer this year for everybody.”

          Yep, it is beginning to look like a good year for tapping the Moon’s resources.

          “Some big changes could be in store for American space exploration under President Trump and the Republican Congress. Sending more humans to the moon, as well as a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa seem to be part of a plan that extends years beyond the Trump administration.”

          And, “ROBERT WALKER: I think the moon is an important step on the way to Mars. I think you have to have some experience in a very hostile environment where you develop some of the technologies that you need to exist on Mars before you actually head to Mars.”

          From: ‘What do the stars hold for the Trump administration? Here’s how NASA’s mission could change’ By Miles O’Brien April 12, 2017
          At: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/stars-hold-trump-administration-heres-nasas-mission-change/

          “Speaking at the symposium Tuesday morning, prior to Raymond’s announcement, Rogers said his ultimate goal is to create a separate space force within the military.”

          “’We have to acknowledge that the national security space structure is broken,’ the congressman said. ‘It’s very hard for a government bureaucracy to fix itself, and that’s exactly why congressional oversight exists.’”

          From: ‘Air Force reorg too timid for House milspace leaders’
          By Phillip Swarts April 5, 2017
          At: http://spacenews.com/air-force-reorg-too-timid-for-house-milspace-leaders/#sthash.AMvkU6m9.dpuf

          To make full use of such “a separate space force”, America would need lots of propellant in Cislunar Space.

          The Moon offers great opportunities to provide that propellant to “a separate space force” and many international commercial and science missions in Cislunar Space.

          • Tracy the Troll

            James,
            So the reality is Space and the Moon are going to be commercial locations because the Military now has the ability the watch, monitor and act on anything that goes on up there….I wonder if the X-37 has anything to do with it?

        • James

          Tracy the Troll –

          “Maybe other partners will emerge.”

          Yep, that does seem likely.

          “Johann-Dietrich Worner, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), said ESA also has its sights set on the Moon as it offers special opportunities to develop new technologies, such as resource mining and astronomy from the far side. ‘The Moon still has a lot of secrets,’ he said. The ESA’s ultimate vision is what it calls the ‘Moon Village,’ a collaborative community open to any and all interested nations that could be used as a testing ground for human activity further out in the solar system.”

          From: ‘International Cooperation Key for Space Agency Leaders’
          By Kendall Russell April 5, 2017
          At: http://www.satellitetoday.com/publications/st/2017/04/05/international-cooperation-key-space-agency-leaders/

          • James

            Tracy the Troll –

            Yep, “Maybe other partners will emerge.”

            “NASA believes the Moon’s southern polar region could contain so-called ‘polar volatiles,’ including easy-to-mine water, hydrogen, and methane that could fuel and support future Moon-miners. In its response to the Trump team, the agency called the polar volatiles a ‘critical long-term resource’ that could be used for future human missions.”

            From: ‘Trump’s Transition Team Asked NASA About Surveying the Moon for Valuable Resources’
            By David Axe April 13, 2017
            At: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/trump-transition-nasa-foia-moon

            “The Blue Moon cargo lander will use technologies developed on the New Shepard rocket to achieve a soft landing on the moon with retrorockets. The 11,000-pound-thrust liquid oxygen/methane engines for the Blue Moon lander are already in development at Blue Origin’s facilities in Kent, Washington.”

            From: ‘Blue Origin Teases Cargo Spaceship for a Moon Base’
            By Jay Bennett March 6, 2017
            At: http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/moon-mars/a25549/blue-origin-cargo-spaceship-moon-base/

            Jeff Bezos has also recently mentioned the idea of possibly building a small satellite launcher based on the reusable New Shepard launcher as the first stage. Maybe he’s thinking of making the second stage reusable and powering it with the “11,000-pound-thrust liquid oxygen/methane” rocket engine in order to get some actual landing experience with that engine before using it on the Blue Moon lander.

            Interesting times…

            • James

              “Bezos, intriguingly, suggested there might be other applications for the New Shepard booster besides lofting the crew capsule (which, besides carrying people, could also carry research payloads.) Blue Origin, he said, could get into the smallsat launch business.

              And, “‘I’m thinking that it might be interesting to build a small second stage for this New Shepard booster so we could use it to put smallsats into orbit. It would be perfectly capable of being a first stage for a small orbital vehicle,’ he said.”

              From: ‘Blue Origin’s status update’ By Jeff Foust Monday, April 10, 2017
              At: http://thespacereview.com/article/3214/1

              Yep, that might be useful for smallsat launches and provide a higher flight rate for the New Shepard booster which could also provide useful experience for vertical landing and reusing the Blue Moon lander.

              However, even if it is not commercially viable, it could also be useful to see Blue Origin’s “11,000-pound-thrust liquid oxygen/methane” rocket engine also getting some vertical landing flights on a reusable second stage prior to it being used for the Blue Moon lander. Could that reusable second stage share some other common systems with the Blue Moon Lander? Maybe.

  • Bravo, Buzz! Bravo! And kudos to the Thunderbirds.

  • Buzz has more than earned another ride to space aboard the Crew Dragon or CST-100!
    Looking forward to a picture of Buzz floating in the cupola wearing his “Get Your Ass to Mars” t-shirt.

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