back to article Starship bloopers: In touching tribute to Tesla shares, Musk proto-craft tumbles – as Bezos' Blue Origin rocket lifts off

Jeff Bezos' rocket biz Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard rocket from US soil on Wednesday, with NASA science gear aboard. The 18-metre-long cargo craft took off from Corn Ranch, a spaceport in Van Horn, a town in western side of Texas, at 0708 PT (1508 UTC). It marked the Amazon supremo's tenth Blue Origin test …

  1. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    No shame in that, Elon

    You see, as designs age sometimes they just don't stay up. I'd recommend getting adequate rest, cut back on the coffee, cigs

    and reefer, and not worry about it. If that doesn't work, try using the turbopumps. Rocket still wont fly? See if Bezos' Blue Origin can sample you a blue pill...

  2. aregross

    That landing looked a little rough, late on the thrusters

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Not late.

      You do a "suicide burn". Your suppose to look like it's late. However, there did seem to be a lot of wobble. But not knowing their flight plan, I cannot say if that is intended.

      1. rg287 Bronze badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Not late.

        Strictly speaking that wasn't really a suicide burn - they entered a full hover and squirreled around before landing.

        A suicide burn (or a hover-slam as SpaceX calls it) is where your vertical speed must hit zero at the precise moment you touch the ground. So named because if you're late on a suicide burn you'll hit the ground too hard, and if you're early you'll come to a hover and then take off again (or finish your fuel and fall the rest of the way). Either way, there's probably going to be an explosion.

        Falcon 9 has to do a hoverslam because they can't throttle the engines deep enough to actually hover. When it's near-empty, just one engine throttled down as deep as it will go is generating more than 22tonnes of thrust (22tonnes being about the dry mass of a F9 booster).

        Because New Shephard is a sub-orbital plaything they're using a much smaller engine in relation to the vehicle mass, which can throttle deep enough that they can balance the Thrust-to-Weight at zero and hold a hover (for as long as they have fuel! And they can carry excess fuel since they're not trying to do anything useful like go to orbit), which appears to be what they did there - got down to a hover, held for a moment, then made the final touchdown.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: Not late.

          Oops! Yep. I forgot that difference. A bit like the moon landing options where you can do a suicide burn, or do a hover and pick a landing site from there (as the Chinese rover/lander did IIRC).

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Not late.

          "since they're not trying to do anything useful like go to orbit"

          There is a slice of up called the "ignorasphere" that is between what a balloon can do and the lowest orbit. There are plenty of researchers that are looking to put experiments into that realm. There is also a metric called Technical Readiness Level (TRL) that gauges the progress of something intended to be sent into space. A lower altitude rocket can be useful for testing some items to raise their TRL before the are fielded or tested further.

          Blue Origin is doing it right with a program that has them scaling up as they prove out their hardware. They are also building their command and control procedures. Insurance will certainly be cheaper if they aren't blowing up rockets by pushing harder than they are capable of doing well.

          BO may fly people sooner than SpaceX. While Elon brags that the F9/Dragon were built from the ground up to be man-rated, NASA isn't happy with their "put the astronauts on-board and they pump the fuel" approach since their last explosion happened while fueling. They are also years behind on a capsule that was supposed to have been designed from the beginning to carry astronauts. Seems like it isn't as simple as they thought to just bolt in some seats, put in a few touchscreens and add an oxygen bottle. I also find Elon's dialogue about having to teach the SX engineers about how much better using stainless steel is to build the BFR. Elon doesn't have any credentials in material science or mechanical engineering and he's lecturing ex-NASA engineers about materials for spacecraft. I expect that he demanded that they use stainless and that's all there was to it if they didn't want to be looking for a new job like all of the others that were sacked in the last purge.

          The first private mission to land on the moon is likely going to be done by BO.

          1. rg287 Bronze badge

            Re: Not late.

            There is a slice of up called the "ignorasphere" that is between what a balloon can do and the lowest orbit. There are plenty of researchers that are looking to put experiments into that realm.

            That's what sounding rockets are for. New Shephard may be able to do it cheaper, which would be good. But it's not inaccessible territory and there are plenty of other people in a position to do it cheaply as well with the burgeoning small-sat launcher market (Rocket Labs, Pegasus, etc, etc).

            There is also a metric called Technical Readiness Level (TRL) that gauges the progress of something intended to be sent into space. A lower altitude rocket can be useful for testing some items to raise their TRL before the are fielded or tested further.

            Like SpaceX did with Grasshopper. Years ago. They learnt what they needed and moved on. Evidently BO think they can make some cash repurposing it into a fairground ride.

            BO may fly people sooner than SpaceX.

            To orbit? No. SpaceX will be flying people this year. Even with Elon time, Crew Dragon is happening this year or next. New Glenn's first flight isn't slated until 2021. If it doesn't slip. Which is actually quite likely, because to this point, BO have zero expertise in ground-handling or launch operations at Florida. They've sent NS up and down from Texas, but playing with the big boys putting up orbital-class vehicles with all the attendant paperwork and processes? That's a different ballgame.

            SpaceX ran into issues just getting their Transport-Erector reconfigured from F9 to FH - what makes you think BO will have it all smooth sailing getting Complex 36 up and running?

            Elon doesn't have any credentials in material science or mechanical engineering and he's lecturing ex-NASA engineers about materials for spacecraft.

            He literally has some idea. He taught himself an unofficial Masters in Rocket Science getting F1 off the ground. If he didn't know an answer he went and found someone who did - ask Tim Worstall.

            At the end of day, it's two ways of doing things.

            SpaceX have developed a minimum viable product and built a profit-making business whilst they refine the vehicle to human-rated standards. It's a software-based move-fast-and-break-things way of doing it, and it's impossible to say it hasn't worked for them.

            Blue Origin have chosen to rely almost entirely on Bezos selling a billion dollars a year in Amazon stocks to bankroll the development of his "final" rocket. It's a very old-space way of doing things, but seems to be working for them (though they have some side-income now that Vulcan is planning on using their BE-4 engines).

            NASA isn't happy with their "put the astronauts on-board and they pump the fuel" approach since their last explosion happened while fueling.

            1. That has been well-fettled. They're happy with the current process. It's also been well established that this is a moronic way of thinking for capsule-based vehicles. Maybe it made sense for the Shuttle where you couldn't eject/abort quickly - you had to unstrap, climb out and get into a zip-wire basket - it made sense to get it fuelled, stabilised and then load the crew. For a vehicle carrying a simple crew capsule with a launch-abort mechanism, why would you want humans walking around the vicinity of a loaded, fuelled rocket? Either way carries risks to the flight-crew, but Load-and-Go eliminates all risk to the ground-crew.

            2. It wasn't an explosion, it was a fast fire. That makes a difference, because a Crew Dragon would have had time to escape (in the style of the recent Soyuz abort).

            3. For AMOS-6 they were trying out a new loading procedure. Whilst we can call into question the wisdom/stupidity of doing that with a customer payload on top, the fact is that they're not going to go off-piste on crewed launches and will be sticking to the manual.

            4. Falcon 9 is now 66/68 fully successful launches. That's a 97.1% success rate - which means they've overtaken Ariane 5 (widely considered to be extremely reliable) on 97/102 (95.1%). If we narrow that to the current version - F9 Block 5 vs. Ariane 5 ECA then it's 11/11 (100%) vs 67/69 (97%).

            A smaller sample, but given that the first B5 flight was less than a year ago, a huge achievement nonetheless.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    For some reason, every time I see the Bezo's rocket I'm reminded of the rocket in Flesh Gordon (definitely NSFW) and have to chuckle, sometimes laugh. The comment at work is "Mark's watching a Bezo's launch" and the youngster's there don't get it. But the older guys do.

    I'm still not believing the picture windows on the capsule. I guess the paying customers deserve a nice view,

    1. macjules Silver badge

      I'm still not believing the picture windows on the capsule. I guess the paying customers deserve a nice view,

      Otherwise they might say that "you just put me in a simulator: I want a refund."

    2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Flesh Gordon

      ...ah I knew I'd seen that rocket before! It wasn't until it was nearly at apogee and the footage was as grainy as a overplayed VHS that I really saw the similarity though ; -)

      On that, props for the camera work and commentary on this one, the tracking was superb, I'm totally impressed the quality is so good we can clearly see capsule separation from 66 miles, and the commentary made the ten mins fly by (crap pun intended).

      1. acanham
        Thumb Up

        Re: Flesh Gordon

        Absolutely reminded me of Austin Powers so I just had to create a forum account to post this:

        https://www.recode.net/2015/4/30/11562074/jeff-bezos-launches-real-life-version-of-austin-powers-penis-rocket

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Flesh Gordon

        "On that, props for the camera work and commentary on this one, the tracking was superb, I'm totally impressed the quality is so good we can clearly see capsule separation from 66 miles, and the commentary made the ten mins fly by (crap pun intended)."

        The military have the really good cameras and lenses though and are keeping them to themselves. You know, the ones that can read a vehicle number plate from orbit :-)

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Flesh Gordon

          "You know, the ones that can read a vehicle number plate from orbit :-)"

          I have serious doubts about that one. As a photographer, I know what a few miles of atmosphere does to resolution. Number plates are also beneath a bit of overhang on the car so a photo from a satellite would have to be from a pretty good angle and on a good clear day with low humidity. Quality optics and a high res sensor help, but they can't overcome atmospheric distortion.

      3. stiine Bronze badge

        Re: Flesh Gordon

        The difference between florida and west texas launch sites is humidity. less humidity equals better imaging.

    3. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Alien

      Plus point from an 'I'm glad it's not just me' older guy!

      Very impressive, but still 9,000mph short of orbit? Do they have plans for orbital insertion, or do they plan just a hop up and back like Virgin (or indeed, a couple of jet fighter tourist trips in Russia and South Africa)?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Naming schemes

        This is the New Shepard rocket - Alan Shepard was the first American to make a sub-orbital-into-space rocket trip.

        The successor is the New Glenn rocket - John Glenn was the first American to make an orbital trip.

        And the one after that is the New Armstrong rocket - Blue Origin haven't said much about its purpose but given the pattern it's probably related to some Armstrong guy and whatever he did in space about half a century ago.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Naming schemes

          Nah, New Armstong is going to go around France really quickly and then get a lifetime ban.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Naming schemes

          "it's probably related to some Armstrong guy"

          Stretch?

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        "Do they have plans for orbital insertion[?]"

        Not with this rocket no, this one is designed for sub-orbital tourist hops, and as a technology demonstrator/test for a much (much) larger orbital rocket, called New Glen.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "For some reason, every time I see the Bezo's rocket I'm reminded of the rocket in Flesh Gordon (definitely NSFW) and have to chuckle, sometimes laugh. The comment at work is "Mark's watching a Bezo's launch" and the youngster's there don't get it. But the older guys do."

      Stop pussyfooting around and say it like it is. New Shepherd looks like a mahoosive DILDO!!!

      At least New Glenn looks more like a proper rocket :-)

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Coat

    Dildo in Spaaaaace!

    Looking at the shape of Bezo's rocket, I'd think its final destination would rather be Uranus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dildo in Spaaaaace!

      >I'd think its final destination would rather be Uranus.

      But since it can't achieve insertion it will remain (like) a Virgin.

  5. defiler Silver badge

    ...pretend to be astronauts.

    it intends to eventually take moneybags tourists to the edge of space and back home again, so they can pretend to be astronauts.

    Let's not be too mean here. Alan Shepard didn't really go very far in Mercury, and I'd like to see anybody stand up and claim he wasn't an astronaut before Apollo 14.

    Sure, he worked for his ticket rather than buying it, but since it appears to an an arbitrary line in the sky...

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

      To my mind the difference is between being able to pilot the device and being a passenger, not the person's physical location in relation to the Earth.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

        To my mind the difference is between being able to pilot the device

        How much piloting do you think the average astronaut actually does? Basically you follow the instructions from ground control, who have the computers doing the calculations.

        1. defiler Silver badge

          Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

          I think the typical astronaut pilot does at least a fair amount, but probably not as much as a GA pilot in a Cessna... Alan Shepard, on the other hand, was pretty-much a ballistic trajectory. I'd be surprised if there was much piloting to be done in that instance.

          Before I get shot down in flames, I know he was a very accomplished pilot / aviator. I also know he'd have to have balls of steel to sit on top of that Mercury/Redstone contraption. I also know that on Apollo 14 he would have had to fly and land the LEM. Without Mechjeb.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

            "Alan Shepard, on the other hand, was pretty-much a ballistic trajectory. I'd be surprised if there was much piloting to be done in that instance."

            Absolutely correct. Lack of pilot controls, and IIRC the initial design decision to not even have a porthole, were the biggest gripes of the early astronauts. Why use test pilots if all they had to do was sit there twiddling their thumbs?

        2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

          How much piloting do you think the average astronaut actually does?

          It depends. Armstrong's piloting was legendary. (The moon landing took real skill but it was Agena incident that showed he really did have the Right Stuff.) Shepard, on the other hand, was pretty much just payload on his most famous flight.

        3. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

          "How much piloting do you think the average astronaut actually does? Basically you follow the instructions from ground control, who have the computers doing the calculations."

          The Russians have always been big on central control for everything so their rockets are mostly automated. The same goes for the retired Space Shuttle. Space Ship Two vibrates so much that it would be hard for the pilot to precision fly the craft with the rocket engine firing. The human pilot is a backup for the computer in most cases (SS2 is completely manual). Just looking at the SpaceX manned capsule with touchscreens, it will be very hard to do very much piloting while under main power. If you look at the Apollo capsules, the controls are very manual with switch guards and plenty of room for gloved fingers to prevent being jostled into flipping the wrong switch.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: ...pretend to be astronauts.

      The US Astronaut Badge has been awarded to people on sub orbital flights before, be it on an X-15 or Scaled Composites craft.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Astronaut_Badge

      But for sure, the difference in energy required to reach orbit and the energy required merely to leave the atmosphere is huge.

  6. Mage Silver badge

    floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

    Why the addiction to Thunderbirds & Tintin?

    Fuel for landing needed if no atmosphere. But on Earth based launch and landing the "rocket equation" shows that more fuel is needed to lift the stage with the fuel to land than a parachute. So environmental damage and waste of resources twice, launch and landing.

    Just use passive technologies such as parachutes for the launcher. It works for the capsule.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

      The craft can be steered with rockets, parachutes place you at the mercy of the wind. Any mechanism that allows the parachutes to be steered adds complexity.

      The parachutes, like the extra fuel required to land a nearly empty launcher, also add weight.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

        The craft can be steered with rockets, parachutes place you at the mercy of the wind

        First of all, strong winds almost invariably make launches impossible. Then, manoeuvrability is still going to be largely limited to the area determined by the initial trajectory which is set to land the bits in known large empty spaces. Pinpoint landings don't matter that much as the support crew is at most minutes away.

        Musk's landing by rocket is not about the position as much about wanting to reuse as much of the rocket and engines as possible. It makes great TV, not so sure about the science and economics given the extra weight and complexity.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >> wanting to reuse as much of the rocket and engines as possible

          Which means landing on legs and staying upright, which given that the rocket is a long thin tube means a low horizontal speed at landing, which is going to be require some very clever parachute control or only landing in flat calm conditions.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >> land the bits in known large empty spaces

          For the US that empty space is traditionally the ocean, since the landing zone doubles as the crashing zone when things go badly wrong, and fish lack legal standing. Russia and China face fewer constraints since the legal recourse for downrange victims is little better than for fish.

          1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: >> land the bits in known large empty spaces

            > fish lack legal standing

            This is because they lack legal legs.

            1. Alistair Silver badge
              Windows

              Re: >> land the bits in known large empty spaces

              @W.S. Gosset:

              Are you suggesting that there are fish out there in possession of ILLEGAL legs? Damn, better get the Fish and Game guys on that RIGHT NOW!!! and while we're at it build a wall to keep these illegally legged terrorist fish out of our waters!!!!

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: >> land the bits in known large empty spaces

                "Damn, better get the Fish and Game guys on that RIGHT NOW!!! "

                Sorry, there's no budget for that right now. They all got sent home to watch porn.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: >> land the bits in known large empty spaces

              If they didn't drink like fishes then maybe they wouldn't get legless?

        3. rg287 Bronze badge

          Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

          Musk's landing by rocket is not about the position as much about wanting to reuse as much of the rocket and engines as possible. It makes great TV, not so sure about the science and economics given the extra weight and complexity.

          It has everything to do with position. As his attempts to catch fairings demonstrate, the accuracy available with parachutes is relatively poor.

          If you want to reuse your rocket then it needs to not go for a dip in the ocean, which requires that you be able to land it on a feasibly-sized barge (or in case of Return-to-Landing-Site, with a level of confidence that NASA/FAA will accept - they don't want a booster plopping down in Orlando or even the KSC Visitor Centre because that's where the wind carried the chutes).

          Reuse hinges entirely upon the ability to accurately land on a pad - much the same as a 747 wouldn't get reused if you just cut the engines in the general vicinity of it's destination and parachuted it down.

          As for economics? They speak for themselves. Musk has the cheapest orbital launch system on the market, and he's turning a profit on his launch business (SpaceX as a whole makes a loss, but that's down to R&D expense. The commercial launch business unit is structurally profitable - bankrolling R&D).

          This doesn't apply to the capsule because it's a much simpler component and you can afford to replace a few salt-water damaged exterior components - but the expensive bit of the booster is the engines - there's no point in trying to reuse a F9 if you're going to have to replace salt-damaged Merlins. You'd be better off saving them and bolting them to a new booster body - which is what ULA have spitballed for Vulcan - jettison the engines, parachute them down, catch them in midair with a helicopter and use them on another rocket. You lose the rest of the booster which is really just a big (relatively cheap) empty fuel tank at that stage.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

            As for economics? They speak for themselves.

            Right, along with the slew of pink slips issued to Space X employees recently…

            Space X has brought some much needed competition to the market, but that doesn't mean all its ideas are great. And it's just as dependent upon DoD contracts as the rest of them.

            1. Brangdon

              Re: the slew of pink slips issued to Space X employees recently

              SpaceX is large company. They need to clear out the deadwood from time to time. Note they are hiring new people at the same time.

              Also, some of those let go would have been working in carbon fibre, which is less needed now they are switching to stainless steel. There are a host of other factors too. The whole point of reuse is that you need less labour.

              SpaceX haven't had many DoD contracts. They get government money from NASA, and nowadays most of their business is commercial.

        4. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

          > Pinpoint landings don't matter that much as the support crew is at most minutes away.

          Not landing on a boulder, house or tree is desirable. Not having to drive a heavy transport vehicle over fauna and flora is also desirable.

          You say that Musk is only interested in image, but his bread and butter comes from commercial launches where he's competing on price.

        5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

          "Pinpoint landings don't matter that much as the support crew is at most minutes away."

          Yeah, but you still need to go out and collect your huge big multi-ton rocket from wherever it landed, and then get it back to the shed for some fettling to make it ready for the next launch. And that's assuming that somewhere in the many square miles a parachute landing might happen that it didn't come down on an incline or boulder, tipping it over.

        6. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

          "not so sure about the science and economics given the extra weight and complexity."

          The extra fuel and landing gear take about 45% more capability to land the booster. On some missions, SX doesn't have the margin on the F9 and just has to splash the booster. ULA just specs a rocket that will do the job since they have more range by adding solid boosters to a core. SX hasn't released a breakdown of the economics of reusing their boosters. In addition to the added capability the rocket needs, they have to tug the landing platform out to sea and be able to process the rocket when they get it back.

    2. rg287 Bronze badge

      Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

      But on Earth based launch and landing the "rocket equation" shows that more fuel is needed to lift the stage with the fuel to land than a parachute. So environmental damage and waste of resources twice, launch and landing.

      Just use passive technologies such as parachutes for the launcher. It works for the capsule.

      Gosh. Better write to Musk. His team of engineers must never have thought of that!

      The F9 on launch weighs ~500tonnes. The Stage 1 dry mass is ~22tonnes. You don't need all that much fuel to bring it down (if you did, it wouldn't be commercial feasible - which is obviously is). As for environmental damage - you're burning one engine for a few seconds in its lowest throttle position. Somewhat different to all 9 engines at max throttle for (almost) the entire ascent phase.

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

      For BO's suborbital rocket, a bit of extra fuel isn't as big of a deal as with a rocket trying to achieve orbital speeds. It puts on a good show to land under power and it also means that the rocket won't fall over if they do it right. Land on uneven ground with a parachute and fall over and there can be lots of damage. Landing under power will mean that turn-around for the booster will be much faster.

    4. Brangdon

      Re: floating back to terra firma using three parachutes

      Parachutes don't scale. SpaceX tried landing a Falcon 9 with parachutes in the early days. It didn't work. They had no choice but to switch to retropropulsion for Earth landings if they are to reuse the booster.

      Parachutes work for the capsule because the capsule is smaller. That is, it works on Earth, with a dense atmosphere - on Mars, with a thinner atmosphere, parachutes work for small probes but larger ones need retropropulsion too. Same issue: parachutes don't scale, and the point at which they become impractical depends on atmospheric density.

  7. Milton Silver badge

    What counts?

    It's good that orbit is a focus, but a pity that Bezos is wasting effort on the childish "pretend astronaut" sideline. All the while his (and Branson's much more dangerous "Galactic" rubbish) are fiddling around trying to con rich idiots into thinking they'll be doing spaceflight, valuable energy and effort is being misdirected from the really important stuff. Plus, the aforementioned rich idiots are having plenty of time in which to rethink, as they become aware that their "space trip" (a) goes nowhere, and (b) stands a unhealthy chance of killing them. How many not-even-Howard-Wolowitzes can you tolerate, yapping about "when I went into space"? ("What did you see?" "Stars." "What did dyou do?" "Puked")

    A true astronaut was quoted in a rival publication: Orbit is what counts.

    1. Blitheringeejit
      Coat

      Re: What counts?

      But haven't you noticed that pretty much our entire economy these days is oriented towards getting rich people to buy over-priced crap which they don't need, but have been trained to aspire to having? It's a multi-layered thing, sure - sub-orbital hops at the top end, Ferraris in the middle, and Pret sandwiches and Costa coffees at the bottom - but it's how modern consumer economics has worked out, thanks to barely-fettered capitalism. No-one makes money from selling cheap but essential shit to the poor any more.

      NB I'm not saying this is good - it actually presages the end of civilisation, whether that comes in the form of climatic catastrophe, or the poor ganging together and deciding that the best way to get by is to kill and eat the rich. But it's the world we now live in, gawd help us.

      / Coat - mine's the one with the little red book in the pocket

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: What counts?

        > getting rich people to buy over-priced crap which they don't need

        Another way of putting it: they're voluntarily taxing themselves!

        "It's not enough to pay tax ; you have to WANT to be taxed."

        1. Blitheringeejit
          Facepalm

          Re: What counts?

          >Another way of putting it: they're voluntarily taxing themselves!

          Nononono - you miss the entire point of my post. Were that the case, they would be stuffing that money into the coffers of the NHS, Plod, local state school or similar. But instead they are putting it into the pockets of assorted branded business bollocks-peddlers, who spirit it away offshore where it escapes any tax liability. Money does not trickle down, it merely trickles out of taxable jurisdiction. Sometimes (eg if you're Russian) "out of taxable jurisdiction" means here - but you still avoid paying any tax, bar the odd few grand in stamp duty on your Kensington mansion.

          1. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: stamp duty on your Kensington mansion

            They don't even pay that.

            The mansion will most likely be owned by an off-shore company which is in turn owned by the individual.

            When they want to sell the house they will sell the company, which will not be liable for stamp duty because it's registered in a tax haven.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What counts?

        No-one makes money from selling cheap but essential shit to the poor any more.

        Walmart would probably beg to differ. It's unfortunate that they had to savage the retail brick and mortar landscape of the U.S. to attain their dominance, but they seem to be doing well for themselves by doing what you suggest no-one is doing.

  8. K Silver badge
    Devil

    Looks like the ship from

    Flesh Gorden (no, not Flash... go google it!)... I guess Mr Bezos is a fan

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    blue Sky, black death

    Add base from the capsule and I'm in!

  10. ukgnome

    Meh - play thing for the rich.

    *I wish I was rich

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