Blue Origin to increase New Shepard launch rate

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

The competition heats up: Blue Origin expects to increase the rate of test flights for its New Shepard reusable rocket in 2016.

“We expect to shorten that turnaround time over time this year, and fly this vehicle again and again,” [Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson] said. Those upcoming tests will use the same New Shepard vehicle that flew the previous two flights, with hardware and software modifications as needed between flights. Meyerson said the company still plans to perform “dozens” of test flights of New Shepard over the next couple of years before the company is ready to carry people on the vehicle. “It really depends on how the flight test program goes,” he said. “It could be a little faster than that, or it could be a little longer than that, depending on what we learn.”

I expect that by the end of 2016, the U.S. will have two proven reusable first stage rockets and two operational orbital cargo spacecraft. And that doesn’t count the likely first demo flight of Falcon Heavy.



  • mpthompson

    I expect that by the end of 2016, the U.S. will have two proven reusable first stage rockets and two operational orbital cargo spacecraft.

    Robert, are you including Blue Origin in those two? If so, how? The rocket Blue Origin has demonstrated is not capable of orbiting cargo and I haven’t heard of a timeline on when they’ll have a rocket that is. It’s more akin to a reusable Falcon 1 (which at least was orbital) and there was a four year gap between the debut of Falcon 1 and the Falcon 9.

  • pzatchok

    Actually the only part of Falcon that reaches a stable orbit is the second stage.

    The first stage is never intended to make an orbit.

  • blarg

    First stage COULD go to orbit without a payload
    Whereas Blue Origin is only suborbital

    Maybe in a few years they will have a rocket that can go to orbit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *