Blue Origin spacecraft unmasked!

The development vehicle Goddard on the back of a lorry 

In a surprise move, the normally secretive Blue Origin has unveiled pictures of its development vehicle and a video of its maiden voyage.   The flight occurred Nov. 13, 2006.  The vehicle is called Goddard, which is the first vehicle in the New Shepard program.

The immediate objective is developing New Shepard, a vertical take-off, vertical-landing vehicle designed to take a small number of astronauts on a sub-orbital journey into space.

One thing is for certain, Blue Origin’s engineers have been very busy.  The video is impressive.  Check it out. In short order, Blue Origin has accomplished what Armadillo Aerospace, Texas’ other private space company, has taken six years to accomplish.

And what about Blue Origin’s motto:  Gradatim Ferociter.  The Seattle Times says it means “Step-by-step, with spirit,” but Alan Boyle over at Cosmic Log says it’s “Step by Step, Courageously.”  I personally like the latter.  Any Latin experts out there?


28 Responses to “Blue Origin spacecraft unmasked!”

  1. IB Bill Says:

    Isn’t Goddard the name of Jimmy Neutron’s mechanical dog?

    Of course, who know where the writers of JN came up with the name.

  2. Simon Says:

    I can only hope that IB Bill was making a funny, and is actually aware of who Robert Goddard was. I mean, he invented the bazooka! That makes him famous, yes?

  3. Witheld Says:

    Aslo, I think they got the idea for latin motto idea from Harry Potter, which is “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus,” meaning (something that I can’t remember), is the Latin motto for Hogwarts Scholl of ect. Not very orginal if you ask me.

    I’m placing my vote for the motto means “Step by step, ferosciously” Sometimes simplest is the best.

  4. drstrangegun Says:

    Jeez guys. Robert Goddard was the pioneer of liquid-fueled rocket engines.

  5. Blue Says:

    Interesting design…much greater natural aerodynamic stability than DC-X, I would say. I also love the shick absorber landing system…very clever.

  6. CosmicConservative » More private sector space news Says:

    […] Blue Origin spacecraft unmasked! « Futuresheet In a surprise move, the normally secretive Blue Origin has unveiled pictures of its development vehicle and a video of its maiden voyage. The flight occurred Nov. 13, 2006. The vehicle is called Goddard, which is the first vehicle in the New Shepard program. […]

  7. Rick C Says:

    Well, Blue Origin’s been working on this for years too; they just have been totally secretive about it until now, so the unfavorable comparison to Armadillo isn’t quite fair.

  8. Richard Wood Says:

    That is SO COOL!

  9. J Charles Says:

    Fascinating – the propellant appears to be frosting the pad, and the strut camera lens is covered in what looks like water/condensation, when the engines ‘fire’ – scare quotes, because there is no fire! Anyone know the propellant chemistry?

  10. Bob Hawkins Says:

    Looks a *lot* like the artist’s depiction of a future spaceship in Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Exploration of Space” (1951).

    BTW, the Hogwarts motto translates as “Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”

  11. TallDave Says:

    I would prefer: “Gradually, Ferociously”

  12. good to know Blue Origin Rocket (for the geeks out there) « Says:

    […] the geeks out there) January 4th, 2007 — recruiter Thanks to to Futuresheet for this post drawing attention to Jeff Bezos’s latest grea idea – the Blue Origin spacecraft.  I’m […]

  13. John Riddell Says:

    If I recall correctly the propellants supposed to be used by Blue Origin were High test peroxide oxidiser plus kerosene fuel – which is fascinating because its the same stuff that was used in the dirt cheap British Black Arrow satellite launcher in the late 60s (programme abandoned after one successful orbital flight in 1971 – £7m total development cost inclusive of orbital flight deemed too much for the UK !) If you can’t see the exhaust that sounds like its HTP/Kerosene to me. Nice to see the tech being reused if so. It would be good for suborbital but worse for orbital as its fairly low ISP but with guaranteed start up capability – HTP lights up on its own account, let alone with Kerosene in it as well, and its not cryogenic so cheaper to handle.

  14. wazzzup ! Says:

    hello dudes lisen this suck i dont know what this is
    i think this is geeks sh*t ! i am duch by the way you know them there good football players 😛 we are the best but england is cool too dudes
    see ya greets dildo93!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    LOVE YOU ! ; ) = )

  15. Russ Says:

    Number two is correct (though “boldly” might be a better translation to American English, as ‘ferox’ can mean a couple of three things, and the modern English “ferocious” is actually a pretty good cognate, and it’s a direct pseudopun off “festina lente,” which means “make haste slowly.” Or, “leap while looking,” very roughly translated.

    So, boldly step by step!

  16. IB Bill Says:

    So Jimmy Neutron’s dog and this thing are both named after this Bobby Goddard fella. Cool. Thanks, folks.

  17. Austin Moseley Says:

    Looks like Gerard K O’neill’s Heavy Lift Launch concept. The fundamental work on that shape was done in the mid-70s.

    O’neill wanted to use the Saturn V engines – and a lot of them.

    The O’neill HLLV Saturn V is still the most cost-efficient HLLV design.

  18. mydigest Says:

    Professor Robert Hutchins Goddard may very well have spoken fluent Dead-Guys-Lingo (aka Latin) but he would surely have been thrilled to see where Verner fon Brown (phonetic spelling) took rocket science in the 1960s.

    As Apollo 11 fell towards its rendezvous point with Selene, I was glad to hear the Voice of America radio report that the New York Times had, after three decades, finally apologised for its error in commenting in the 1930s that the professor seemed to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.

    When, in a throw away remark, Goddard had mentioned the usefulness of his liquid-fuelled rocket engine in eventually enabling space travel, the newspapers led with that aspect and ridiculed the engineer of genius.

    NYT blathered that rockets needed something to push against so would not work in vacum. In fact, the explosively igniting gas pushes against the inside of the combustion chamber so the whole vehicle is propelled in the direction opposite the portion allowed to escape through the nozzel.

    Cy Quick at

  19. Techweenie Says:

    Wasn’t Goddard that guy that Estragon and Vladimir were waiting for? Nothing to be done.

  20. DougK Says:

    I used to work at NASA in Cleveland and that picture looks a lot like the nose cone of a Titan rocket they use to launch satellites in space. Also the building it is going into, looks like the staging area at Kennedy Space Center.

    Sorry to burst your bubble.

  21. Video of Blue Origin’s Goddard sub-orbital spacecraft « knowledge is everywhere :: scientaestubique Says:

    […] , on-boardcomputers , withoutgroundcontrol , unmannedtestflight , launchday  The Blue Origin spacecraft has been unmasked. You just have to see the video of Blue Origin’s Goddard spacecraft taking off. Blue Origin […]

  22. CharlesL Says:

    Armadillo’s work is being done with volunteer labor, two days a week -Tuesday evenings and Saturdays. (The cost is the hardware.)

    They’ve explored a lot of ‘rocket engineering phase space’ under those constraints. Pretty damn good, IMHO

    By contrast, Blue Origin has lots of full time employees.

  23. J.Charles Says:

    John Riddel, thanks for the cogent comments re:propellant chemistry – I am curious now as to the gross weight of the vehicle, and how the specific impulse of the suspected HTP/Kerosene compares to, say H/0?

  24. Russell Says:

    What a lotta bullshit!

    Oh… and it’s “patiently and step-by-step “

  25. happycrow Says:

    Russell, “ferociter” does *not* mean “patiently.” The difference between “patient” and “ferox” is about as big as it gets.

    Anyway, hopefully this is perfectly legit: I don’t know aerospace, and am inclined to cheer each and every person whose dream is to let me check out my skills as a gymnast and historian in outer space.

    Golevka or bust!

  26. Jim Etchison Says:

    Plod Ferociously.

    Awesome slogan for an awesome project!

  27. PSP Dude Says:

    Will it really fly…

  28. mydigest Says:

    Do you mean will the PROJECT really fly, or the CRAFT? The craft just did, a tiny bit. The project is unsure in my guess. I personally would prefer a hotol, horizontal takeoff and landing, system to give me a tourist peek outside atmosphere to the black-sky/lit-Earth realm. I would need somebody to pay my ticket too. Cy Quick at

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