Bezos builds a Moon rocket, BE-4. Bob Zimmerman,

Mar 09, 12:00 AM


(Photo: File:The sun sets over a test stand at Blue Origin's West Texas facility.)

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Bezos builds a Moon rocket, BE-4. Bob Zimmerman,

If Blue Origin follows through on its routine, the BE-4 should eventually be sent down to the company’s test range in West Texas for full-scale firings. And if the engine passes those tests, United Launch Alliance is likely to give its go-ahead for the engines to be used on its next-generation Vulcan rockets.

Blue Origin also intends to use the BE-4 on its own New Glenn rockets, which are under development and due to be built at its Florida orbital operations facility starting next year.

The BE-4 is a step up from the hydrogen-fueled BE-3 rocket engine that Blue Origin is using on its New Shepard suborbital spaceship. One now-retired New Shepard went through five fully successful test flights to outer space and back, and more of the spaceships are in production.

New Glenn, which is named in honor of the late space pioneer John Glenn, is destined to send payloads into Earth orbit, and perhaps much farther. Last week, Bezos acknowledged that he envisioned the New Glenn as the foundation for a delivery service to the surface of the moon. Such trips could begin as early as 2020 if NASA agrees to a public-private partnership, Bezos said.

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<user-5006573> - about 2 months ago

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