On December 12, Blue Origin launched and landed a New Shepard rocket for the first time. After New Shepard hurled the Crew Capsule 326,075 feet into the sky, the capsule used thrusters and parachutes to gently land back on earth. At Popular Mechanics,
Launching tourists to space with New Shepard is only a small part of Blue Origin’s larger spaceflight plans. In October, Jeff Bezos’s rocket company conducted a hot-fire test of the Blue Engine 4 (BE-4), the most powerful American-built rocket engine in decades.
Blue Origin has big plans for the BE-4, hoping to sell the rocket engine to United Launch Alliance (ULA) for use in its Vulcan rocket, which is currently under development by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture. In addition, Blue Origin plans to use seven BE-4 engines to power a new 270-foot, 3.85-million-pound-thrust heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn. The company is currently building a factory in Huntsville, Alabama, to assemble New Glenn launch vehicles.
Long-term plans for Blue Origin also include developing a reusable lunar lander, called Blue Moon, with technologies from New Shepard that could land on the moon and then relaunch up to an orbiting lunar station. The New Glenn rocket, once developed, would also give the company a rocket that could be used for a variety of missions from deep space launches to crewed flights.
This week, however, it’s little New Shepard that gets the spotlight. The rocket has been impressive in its reusability, as demonstrated by the second booster that launched and landed five times. Perhaps soon you will be able to buy a ticket for a New Shepard flight to the edge of space.
Read more here.
Crew Capsule 2.0 First Flight
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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