Space Virgin Galactic vs Blue Origin New Shepard: How do the two spaceships compare


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(Article by Charlotte Edwards at The Sun)

BILLIONAIRE’S Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are both planning on heading to space this month.

Branson’s Virgin Galactic VSS Unity spaceplane and Bezos’s Blue Origin New Shepard rocket and capsule look pretty different but they do have some similarities.


How do the VSS Unity spaceplane and the Blue Origin New Shepard compare?​


Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson plans to enter space on his VSS Unity spaceplane this weekend on July 11.

The craft is lifted to altitude by a carrier aircraft called the VMS Eve.

After being in suborbital space for a few minutes, the VSS Unity lands back on Earth on a runway like a plane.

In comparison, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket-and-capsule combo shoot from a launchpad into sub-orbit together before the capsule separates.



The rocket returns to the launchpad and the capsule spends a few minutes in space before falling back to Earth via parachute.

Both spacecrafts will allow passengers to experience a few minutes in weightless space.

The VSS Unity spaceplane requires two pilots and can have up to four passengers.


The Blue Origin New Shepard rocket and capsule fly autonomously, which means they don’t need crew.

The capsule can fit up to six passengers.

Bezos plans to go to space in the capsule on July 20 with his brother and a guest who entered a charity bidding war for a ticket.

The top altitude for the VSS Unity is said to be around 293,000 feet.

The top altitude for New Shepard is said to be around 327,360 feet.

Both spaceship methods are reusable.

What is Virgin Galactic?​

Here's what you need to know...

Intrepid explorers are lining up – and digging deep – to travel into space with Virgin Galactic.

British billionaire Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic in 2004, initially predicted the maiden space flight would launch by 2009.

But the date has been repeatedly pushed back due to technical problems.

In 2016, the late Professor Stephen Hawking unveiled Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo craft, called VSS Unity, after the first SpaceShipTwo craft VSS Enterprise crashed during tests in 2014, killing one of its pilots.

A successful maiden flight finally took place in mid-December 2018.

If all goes to plan, space fans will be launched more than 50 miles above Earth – a point at which Nasa defines as outer space.

Passengers will ride aboard SpaceShipTwo, a spaceplane designed to carry six passengers and two pilots.

It is carried aloft by a large aeroplane before breaking away and zooming to an altitude of about 62 miles.

Passengers will experience a few minutes of weightlessness before Unity fires up its engines and soars back to Earth, landing on a runway like a conventional aircraft.

With a hefty price tag of $250,000 (£175,000) a ticket, the 90-minute flight is being aimed at wealthy celebrities and thrillseekers.

Sir Richard has said that “ultimately” he would like to see the price fall as low as $40,000 (£30,700) over the next decade.

Virgin Galactic is up against fierce competition in the private space race from firms such as Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
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Taxpayers funded a billionaire to build a plane that barely reached the edges of space for a joyride. Whoever in the US approved funds for this whim got suckered.
admittedly there were some what suggested that the whole Gemini / Apollo was a waste of tax $.
I like the concept of space exploration but wonder if its worth the cost.
admittedly there were some what suggested that the whole Gemini / Apollo was a waste of tax $.
I like the concept of space exploration but wonder if its worth the cost.
At least the Gemini / Apollo programs had the benefit of shadow military programs, those programs were making advancements. Bezos and Branson are taking literal joyrides at the expense of taxpayers for the sake of running tourism companies. If they want to commercialize space then they should be doing so at their expense, not ours.
on the other hand maybe the gummint is helping them out for a future alternative in case the Russkies try to shut us out. always good to have options.
presumably they (Bezos/Branson) paid for a lot of this.

imho the Virgin multiplane thing was way kewl