SpaceX CEO Elon Musk named his rocket recovery vessels after science-fiction spaceships, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stayed closer to home for the christening of the ship that his Blue Origin space venture will use for at-sea rocket landings.
In anInstagram post,Bezos said he and his siblings surprised their mom,Jacklyn Bezos, by revealing that the 600-foot recovery ship would be named after her. A video included in the post shows Jacklyn Bezos smashing a bottle of bubbly against the hull, then waving to a cheering crowd.
Thelanding platform vessel有几个名字在两个以上的12月ades of existence. For most of that time, it was known as the Stena Freighter. But when Blue Originpurchased the ship in 2018 and had it brought to Floridafor refurbishing, it was clear that it’d be only a matter of time before a new name was painted on its prow.
Blue Origin and its contractors are retrofitting the ship as a floating landing pad for the rocket company’s orbital-classNew Glenn rocket, which is due to have its first launch from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36 as early as next year. Once stage separation takes place, the New Glenn’s first-stage booster would be programmed to land itself autonomously on the ship as it sails through the Atlantic Ocean.
“New Glenn’s first stage will come home to the Jacklyn after every flight,” Bezos said in his posting. “It couldn’t be more appropriately named — Mom has always given us the best place and best heart to come home to. We love you, Mom.”
After each at-sea touchdown, the Jacklyn would sail back to port, and the booster would be brought in for its own refurbishment and reuse.
The arrangement is somewhat similar to how SpaceX lands its Falcon 9 first-stage boosters at sea. The only difference is that Blue Origin’s ship would be a moving target for returning rockets — a provision that Blue Origin says makes for a more stable landing platform. Years ago, Blue Origin and SpaceX engaged in alegal tussle over the patentability of the procedure, with the result that Blue Origin withdrew its original patent claims.
SpaceX has two autonomous spaceport drone ships that serve as at-sea landing pads: One is named “Just Read the Instructions,” and the other is called “Of Course I Still Love You.” Both names were previously used to refer tosentient, planet-sized spaceships in “The Player of Games,”a science-fiction novel written Iain M. Banks.
Musk happens to be a big fan of Banks, who died in 2013, just as SpaceX was ramping up its efforts to recover rocket boosters. In 2015, Musktweeted a succinct explanationfor the designation: “In honor of IMB, RIP,” he wrote.
For what it’s worth, the smaller boats that recover the Falcon 9’s fairings at sea have been given a different pair of whimsical names:Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief.