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更新时间:2015-9-17 19:22:41 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ Rocket Company, to Launch from Florida

Blue Origin, a secretive rocket company started by Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, made a splashy public announcement on Tuesday, saying it will build rockets and send them to orbit from Florida.

蓝色起源(Blue Origin)是一家行事低调的火箭公司,由亚马逊首席执行官杰弗里·P·贝佐斯(Jeffrey P. Bezos)建立。本周二,它发布了一则引人瞩目的公告,表示将建造火箭,并在佛罗里达州把它们送入轨道。

Blue Origin has leased Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the historic starting point for 145 launchings including those of NASA’s Pioneer 10, the first spacecraft to visit Jupiter, and Surveyor 1, the first craft to land softly on the moon.

蓝色起源已租用了卡纳维拉尔角空军基地的36号发射设施(Launch Complex 36)。这个具有历史意义的发射中心进行过145次发射,包括美国航空航天局(NASA)第一艘造访木星的飞船“先驱者10号”(Pioneer 10),以及第一艘在月球上软着落的飞船“测量员1号”(Surveyor 1)都是在这里发射的。

But Launch Complex 36 has sat idle for a decade. “Too long,” Mr. Bezos said. “We can’t wait to fix that.”


Blue Origin will also open a factory nearby. “We’re not just launching from here,” Mr. Bezos said. “We’re building here.”


The company will invest $200 million and create 330 jobs, officials said.


It is the latest effort to revive Florida’s Space Coast, which was economically battered after NASA stopped flying the space shuttles in 2011. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, the rocket company started by Elon Musk, and the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, already use nearby launching pads at Cape Canaveral.

这是振兴佛罗里达太空海岸的最新努力,NASA在2011年停飞航天飞机,让该地经济遭受重创。埃隆·马斯克(Elon Musk)创办的火箭公司太空探索技术公司(Space Exploration Technologies Corporation,简称SpaceX),以及波音(Boeing)和洛克希德·马丁(Lockheed Martin)合资成立的联合发射联盟公司(United Launch Alliance),已经在卡纳维拉尔角使用了附近的发射台。

In the past, Blue Origin, based in Kent, Wash., south of Seattle, has sometimes waited days or months to mention successes or failures. Mr. Bezos provided brief updates on Blue Origin’s website.


But even now, exactly what Blue Origin plans to launch from Cape Canaveral remains somewhat mysterious.


The rocket, still unnamed, will be large enough to reach orbit, and it will debut later this decade, Mr. Bezos said. But he did not give specifics about which markets he is aiming for. “We’re building a vehicle for humans,” Mr. Bezos said in a telephone interview. “That’s my personal passion.”


But such a rocket “can clearly lift payloads of all kinds,” he said.


The first stage of the rocket is to be fully reusable — landing vertically back on Earth — unlike most rockets today, which crash back to Earth after one flight.


That approach is similar to SpaceX’s attempts to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform, a first step to refurbishing and reflying it. Blue Origin had patented the barge landing idea, but SpaceX successfully challenged the patent, and Blue Origin has since given up on the claim.

这种方式与SpaceX试图让猎鹰9号(Falcon 9)的一级火箭在浮动平台上着陆的做法类似,着陆是对火箭进行翻新、再次飞行的第一步。蓝色起源对驳船着陆的设想申请了专利,但SpaceX成功地挑战了这一专利权,随后蓝色起源放弃了专利。

Blue Origin lost another skirmish with SpaceX last year in the bidding to take over one of two launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center that NASA used for the space shuttles. After that setback, Blue Origin looked at options in five states before deciding on Launch Complex 36.

去年,蓝色起源与SpaceX竞标NASA在肯尼迪航天中心(Kennedy Space Center)用于发射航天飞机的两个发射台之一,蓝色起源最后落败。经历这一挫折后,蓝色起源考虑了位于五个州的发射台,最终选中了36号发射设施。

In April, Blue Origin completed the first test flight of its New Shepard spacecraft, accelerating past three times the speed of sound to reach an altitude of 307,000 feet above a testing site in West Texas. The capsule, without any passengers, separated and parachuted gently to the ground. The booster, designed to land back on the ground, crashed because of a malfunction in the hydraulic system. New Shepard, which is to take tourists on suborbital jaunts, will continue to launch from Texas.

今年4月,蓝色起源完成了“新谢帕德号”(New Shepard)飞行器的首次试飞,在德克萨斯州西部的一处测试场地,以超过三倍音素的速度升至30.7万英尺(约9.3万米)的高度。当时并未搭载乘客的太空舱最终分离,轻轻降落到地面。由于液压系统出现故障,原本应该返回地面的助推器坠毁。搭载游客开展亚轨道之旅的新谢帕德号将会继续从德克萨斯州发射。

At the end of his remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Bezos looked to the future. “I don’t know how long this will take,” Mr. Bezos said, “but one day I look forward to having a press conference with you guys in space.”