A view of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
Billionaire Jeff Bezos went to the edge of space on Tuesday in Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
The suborbital rocket has a domed, wide capsule on top for passengers – giving it a phallic profile.
New Shepard’s characteristic design makes it more stable and optimizes cabin space, experts said.
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Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos flew to the edge of space Tuesday in a company rocket that had a bulbous passenger capsule sitting atop a tall, narrow booster shaft.
The New Shepard rocket’s tumescent shape was low-hanging fruit to social media users who were quick to point out the craft’s phallic design, and whether that design meant its billionaire passenger was compensating for something.
But experts say this suborbital sausage fest was anything but accidental. New Shepard’s characteristic shape was designed to optimize cabin space for up to six passengers, as well as well maximize how stable the rocket when coming back to Earth, according to Pedros Llanos, an engineer and professor of spaceflight operations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“The main reason the design looks like this is because Jeff’s first goal is to send people to space, so everything revolves around having four to six people in the cabin and so maximizing cabin volume,” Llanos told Insider. His group at Embry-Riddle has sent cargo up on previous New Shepard launches in 2017 and 2019.
“Jeff also wanted to have the biggest windows in space so people could have an awesome experience,” Llanos said, which further increased the size of the capsule.
While most spacecraft resemble, in part, male genitalia, New Shepard’s wide mushroom-like capsule – and the skinny girth of the booster underneath – are the driving source of recent innuendo.
Blue Origin declined Insider’s request for comment.
The capsule shape helps reduce drag on the rocket and keep passengers safe
Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule parachuting back to Earth.
According to Llanos, Blue Origin engineers tested more than 100 different configurations for the capsule shape before settling on one that starts wide at the base and tapers – a bit like a muffin top.
Given that the capsule is the first thing to cut through the air as New Shepard ascends skyward (scientists call this forward-most part the nose cone), it’s rounded to reduce drag, Llanos said.
Drag is the force that slows an object down as it moves through the air. The shape of a rocket affects how much drag it experiences, NASA said: “Most round surfaces have less drag than flat ones. Narrow surfaces usually have less drag than wide ones.”
The capsule needed to stay stable on the descent too – it detached from the New Shepard booster in the atmosphere and free fell for four minutes before deploying parachutes and delivering Bezos and three other astronauts safely to the ground. That’s why engineers had to make the bottom so wide.
“The more base it has the better it’s going to land,” Jonathan …read more
Source:: Business Insider