Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos announced today the name of future rocket. Bezosalso showcased important data about its future rocket project and some animations created by Blue Origin team. The rocket has been named as the New Glenn, named after John Glenn, the first US astronaut to orbit earth.
The rocket would launch payloads and humans into orbit around earth. As per the animations of the new rocket, it is bigger than SpaceX’s future Falcon Heavy rocket and the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy.
Bezos said that reusability is one more factor that will make New Glenn more special. Similar to the way New Shepard vehicle lands after a flight, New Glenn’s first stage will be able to land post-launch. But there will be one difference as the New Shepard is only able to go to sub-orbital space.
About the dimensions of the New Glenn, it will be 23 feet in diameter and range between 270 and 313 feet high. Height depends on if there will be one upper stage or two. If there will be one then the rocket will be able to send satellites and people into lower earth orbit. But if there will be two upper stages then the New Glenn will be able to take payload beyond LEO.
Seven BE-4s would power the main portion of the rocket. The engine is being developed by Blue Origin. In total, the BE-4s would provide 3.85 million pounds of thrust. The rocket will be built at Blue Origin’s future manufacturing facility to be constructed at Cape Canaveral Florida.
The vehicle will be launched from Launch Complex 36, a site at the Cape that Blue Origin has taken on lease from aerospace development agency Space Florida.
According to a report in CS Monitor by Lonnie Shekhtman, “In reporting his company’s news, Bezos could not resist taking some jabs at Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The Tesla Motors founder’s spaceflight venture has been facing scrutiny in the last week over the reliability of its technology after losing a Falcon 9 rocket to an explosion during a fuel test on Sept. 1. Onboard was Facebook’s $200 million communications satellite, which was meant to connect large swaths of sub-Saharan Africa to the internet.”
SpaceX is about five years older than Blue Origin. That means it’s much farther ahead in developing a reusable rocket, considered the top priority for commercial spaceflight companies that are trying to lower costs. SpaceX already has built a vibrant spaceflight business, with hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of contracts secured to deliver cargo for NASA to the International Space Station and communications satellites into orbit for commercial customers.
“Look at the pattern of names,” Bey suggests. He points out that Blue Origin rockets appear to have been strategically named after the astronaut associated with each of the country’s major space milestones: from the first person to reach space (Alan Shepard), to the first one to orbit Earth (John Glenn), to the first person to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong).
A report published in USA Today informed, “Jeff Bezos, the billionaire Amazon.com CEO and founder of Seattle-based Blue Origin, revealed new details about the planned orbital rockets, including their name: New Glenn, paying tribute to John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth.”
Though taller, the New Glenn is not as powerful as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, which will generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust. SpaceX had hoped to debut the Falcon Heavy before the end of this year in a launch from Kennedy Space Center, but the timeline is unknown following the Sept. 1 launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket.
Blue Origin has already proven its ability to land and re-fly smaller boosters, doing so four times with its suborbital New Shepard vehicle — named for Alan Shepard, the first American in space — during unmanned test flights at the company’s private range in Texas.