Blue Origins Assembles First Rocket Engine

Pablo Tucker
March 7, 2017

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin signed satellite operator Eutelsat Communications SA as its first paying customer as it prepares to launch more powerful rockets early in the next decade. Hell, the man even has them on a pair of cowboy boots.

On Tuesday, it took another ferocious step forward. Each stage of this rocket will be powered by 7 such engines. Standing just over 269 feet tall, the New Glenn rocket will have the capacity to lift a almost 100,000-pound payload into low Earth orbit. According to Bloomberg, the company has bought one launch on New Glenn, scheduled for 2021.

The BE-4 engines are proposed to be used in Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket which will shuttle humans to the moon and back to Earth.

Yeah, it looks pretty much exactly like how SpaceX does it.

There is something inherently exciting about watching a rocket takeoff and land.

Animations are cool and all, but when will this sucker take to the skies? Standing at and impressive 82 meters (269 feet) tall, Blue Origin's design would see it lift up to 45 tons into low-Earth orbit, and 13 tons to geostationary orbit.

And these engines may power more than just Blue Origin's rockets.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin's BE-4 engines are expected to go through full-scale testing soon and could start putting payloads in orbit within the next couple of years. In including New Glenn in our manifest we are pursuing our longstanding strategy of innovation that drives down the cost of access to space and drives up performance.

"We couldn't hope for a better first partner", Bezos announced as he was joined onstage by Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of the French-based satellite company. The pictures show the first "fully assembled" rocket, Bezos wrote, and two more are close to completion. The engine gives a force of propulsion equivalent to 1.1 million pounds which is massive. However, Bezos said last week that a beefed-up version of the New Glenn would have enough oomph to get payloads to the moon.

Blue Origin has also pitched NASA on a public-private partnership to fly cargo and science experiments to the surface of the moon, a mission it has dubbed Blue Moon. The company has therefore been on the lookout for an alternative, and ultimately chose to build its own Vulcan rocket powered by the BE-4.

Faced with criticism for using Russian-made RD-180 engines for the launch of military satellites, ULA opted to build a new rocket that will use the fourth-generation engine.

So where do the BE-4 engines come in? Interestingly, this also outlines one of the few prominent differences between SpaceX and Blue Origin's modus operandi.

Catch the New Glenn in action in Blue Origin's intro video below! But we don't have any details about that one. Bezos says the New Glenn will make its first flight from the Florida coast before the end of this decade.

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