dglobalnews.com Jeff Bezos Unveils Engine for Blue Origin Megarocket
Published: Thu, March 09, 2017
Research | By Kayla Price

Jeff Bezos Unveils Engine for Blue Origin Megarocket

Jeff Bezos Unveils Engine for Blue Origin Megarocket

Technically, Blue Origin was the first company to demonstrate a reusable rocket with the launch and landing of the New Shepard rocket in 2015.

"Blue Origin has been forthcoming with Eutelsat on its strategy and convinced us they have the right mindset to compete in the launch service industry", he said in the news release.

The New Glenn rocket that will be taking up the satellite is created to take off and land vertically, so it can be reused making it a more attractive option than rockets that can only be used once. The next ULA rocket, Vulcan, is expected to use the American-made BE-4 engine instead of the Russian-made RD-180.

The deal has come up as the first big commercial contract for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' aerospace firm Blue Origin and its ambitious lunar rocket mission.

But recently Blue Origin has stepped into the spotlight - as a sponsor of the satellite conference, its banners and logos are all over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center - and it is starting to accelerate its activities. That system is being developed to send humans into deep space. "We'll reach a new equilibrium in this industry". Bezos said the Blue Origin booster will land on a barge using six landing legs.

While the New Glenn is still under construction, Bezos said the massive rockets will be between 270 to 313 feet tall, and will require seven BE-4 engines for the first stage of lift-off, and one more for the second stage.

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An artist's rendering of Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket.

What's more, Bezos' quick space advancements with Blue Origin has already won the distinguished Heinlein Prize for "progress in commercial space activities that advances [the] dream of humanity's future in space".

In addition to launching satellites, the New Glenn will also carry humans into orbit, he added. ULA is paying Aerojet Rocketdyne, a traditional engine-builder, to continue developing its kerosene-fueled AR1 engine as a backup option. A recent NASA "Justification for Other Than Full and Open Competition" for buying additional Space Shuttle Main Engines states that a traditional engine development program will cost more than $2.2 billion.

And while low-Earth orbit may not seem as exciting as the moon, Bezos's goals are no less ambitious than Musk's. Bezos has targeted 2020 as when he'd like to see the rocket fly. Like the New Shepard, the New Glenn will be a reusable vehicle, as the majority of the vehicle will be capable of landing after launch (similar to how SpaceX's Falcon 9 vehicle lands after takeoff).

Tentative steps these may be (or in Blue Origin's case, animated steps), but it's still pretty awesome to even be talking about potential space tourism.

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