Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has confirmed that his space firm Blue Origin has finished building its first "mega rocket" engine for his New Glenn rocket ship.
The two companies announced the new contract Tuesday in Washington D.C.at a satellite conference. The rocket's first stage will be powered by seven BE-4 engines, also being developed and manufactured by Blue Origin. "Once the opportunity of Blue Origin presented itself, we jumped on it", Belmer said. He says he's confident that small, incremental progress will help Blue Origin prosper in the long run. Following the White House's request, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration last month began looking into whether a manned mission around the moon could be accelerated to as early as next year.
The rocket's inaugural trip is scheduled for 2021, giving Blue Origin a few years to ideal its reusable rocket technology. "This can only be good news for the profitability and sustainability of our industry". He did not clarify where the BE-4 is headed, but the likeliest destination is Blue Origin's test site in West Texas.
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Meant to simulate the path of an actual mission, the animation showed the New Glenn, powered by seven of the company's BE-4 engines, launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida and separate, with the first stage heading back to Earth while the second stage carries a satellite into orbit.
An artist's rendering of Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket. This second stage will be powered by just one BE-4 engine.
To accompany the announcement of the new hardware, Blue Origin put together a concept video showing what the final product will look like. Two BE-4 engines provide a combined total of 1.1 million pounds of thrust, which provides a greater payload capability relative to the RD-180. 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. "We knew it was coming, but having contracts with paying customers is important", said Dale Ketcham, chief of strategic alliance at Space Florida.
"While there is a significant risk in using a new vehicle, satellite operators have shown that they want a diverse range of suppliers and not be tied to just one or two launch providers". Bezos has targeted 2020 as when he'd like to see the rocket fly.