Blue Origin books first New Glenn launch contract

Adjust Comment Print

Blue Origin has also been testing its New Shepard reusable launch vehicle, which is created to take paying tourists into suborbital space.

Blue Origin and its chief competitor, SpaceX - founded by Tesla billionaire Elon Musk - are pushing forward to a future of commercial spaceflight.

The Amazon founder tweeted two pictures of the new BE-4 engine. It is named after astronaut Alan Shepard.

Blue Origin also released a slick animation showing a New Glenn launch and subsequent landing of the first stage booster on a floating platform. "Welcome to the launch manifest, Eutelsat, can't wait to fly together". Blue Origin is also building a 750,000-square-foot rocket factory and leasing a launch complex in Florida.

"We were impressed by Blue Origin's industrial approach and are always looking for innovation in the industry that facilitates cost-efficient access to space", said Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O'Connor.

Today, Blue Origin announces an even bigger, more ferocious step.

The Congress has passed a bill banning the use of Russian rocket engines in the launch of US military satellites after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

The two-stage New Glenn variant, shown in the animation, will stand 270 feet (82 meters) tall and haul almost 29,000 pounds, or 13 metric tons, to geostationary transfer orbit, the drop-off point for most communications satellites, like the platforms owned and operated by Eutelsat.

Bezos said his goal was to lower the cost of flights so that millions of people can live and work in space.

And these engines may power more than just Blue Origin's rockets. The rocket engine is part of Blue Origin's mission to end United States dependence on the Russian-built RD-180 engine.

"BE4 is the primary path to replace the Atlas' Russian RD180".

Eutelsat will launch its next satellite at the end of April using an Ariane 5 rocket.

In a statement Tuesday, Eutelsat said the contract with Blue Origin "reflects Eutelsat's longstanding strategy to source launch services from multiple agencies in order to secure access to space".

New Glenn as a heavy-lift orbital rocket is expected to be a leviathan among all rockets in two sizes - one at 270 feet, and the other at 313 feet.

"Maiden voyages are typically offered at a huge discount", said Luigi Peluso, an aerospace and defense analyst at Alix Partners, of the Blue Origin contract. "This can only be good news for the profitability and sustainability of our industry".