Summary of accomplishments and plans for SpaceX and Blue Origin. Gotta’ love that competition!

Successful recovery of Falcon 9 booster during CRS-10 mission. Credit Flickr. Courtesy of SpaceX who has placed their photos in the public domain.

Found an article that summarizes accomplishments and plans for SpaceX and Blue Origin, the space exploration companies of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, respectively.

Check out Mike Wall at on 3/13/17To the Moon! The Musk-Bezos Billionaire Space Rivalry Just Reached New Heights.

Here are many of the key achievements and targets for both companies. I sorted and regrouped the items that drew my interest. As you consider the list, you can see both companies are making rapid progress. The competition is getting serious.

By the way, if the article and my little summary here does not satisfy your appetite for learning what is going on in space, you really, really need to check out Capitalism in Space: Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry, by Robert Zimmerman, available in PDF format for free at Behind the Black. I am about half way through the paper. It is superb.

First steps


  • 12/15 – successfully recover Falcon 9
  • Through 3/17 – have now successfully recovered a Falcon 9 lift vehicle eight times; 3 on land and 5 on drone ships at sea
  • 3/17 – planned first time reuse of Falcon 9 for launch of SES 10 satellite

Blue Origin:

  • 11/15 – successfully recover New Shepard
  • Late 2016 – retired a New Shepard booster after it was successfully recovered 4 times
Successful recovery of New Shepard booster on June 19, 2016. Credit Blue Origin.

Heavy lift


  • later in 2017 – first launch of Falcon Heavy – capacity of 54 metric tons to LEO

Blue Origin:

  • 9/16 – Announced New Glenn lift vehicle
  • 3/17 – Capacity of New Glenn announced at 45 metric tons to LEO
  • 3/17 – announced first two customers for New Glenn, with 6 launches total
  • 2020 – first launch of New Glenn

Crewed capsules


  • Through 3/17 – Dragon capsule has already made several resupply runs to ISS
  • Mid-2018 – first crewed run to ISS with modified Dragon Capsule
  • Late 2018 – two paying customers on loop around the moon

Blue Origin:

  • Mid-2020 – supply runs to the moon
  • Late 2017 – first crewed flight of New Shepard capsule (I double checked; yes, article says same name as first booster)
  • 2018 – first suborbital commercial crewed flights

To Mars


  • 9/16 – Announced Interplanetary  Transport System, concept on how to get to Mars
  • 2020s – first crewed flights to Mars, which would be preceded by several supply runs
  • 2070s or so – Mars occupied by around 1 million people, making a living there
Interplanetary Transport System. Drawing of launch pad. Tanker is sitting at left ready to be added to booster upon its return. Credit: Flickr, SpaceX has placed this in public domain.

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