Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin reveals first orbital rock

(ShareCast News) – Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced plans for his Blue Origin company to design and build a giant orbital rocket, which will be able to transport people and satellites into space.

Named after 1960s astronaut John Glenn, the New Glenn aims to make its first journey at the end of the decade, and spark a rivalry with another entrepreneur – SpaceX and Tesla chief Elon Musk.

Blue Origin has been largely a secretive operation from Bezos, who has previously admitted to being a fan of the idea of space travel, but kept news about the development of the rocket to a minimum.

However, in a detailed announcement on Monday, Bezos said that the New Glenn is “designed to launch commercial satellites and to fly humans into space.”

Bezos’ ambition is clear, as he revealed that in the long-term his objective is to allow humans to live and work in space.

“Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,” Mr. Bezos said. “It won’t be the last of course.”

In an additional Twitter posting, the Amazon CEO posted a graphic comparing his new rocket plans to those already in existence:

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company had looked to be the driving force of the new space exploration companies, but now faces difficulties after an explosion of one of its Falcon 9 rockets at Cape Canaveral, Florida, earlier this month.