Forward of testing, Blue Origin elevates New Glenn onto the launch pad for the primary time

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue origin launched a take a look at model of its large orbital rocket from its launch pad for the primary time on Wednesday, ushering within the begin of a serious testing marketing campaign forward of the primary launch later this 12 months.

The take a look at model of the rocket is made fully of Blue Origin {hardware}, however not all of it’s going to essentially find yourself going into house. The second stage and the payload fairing that sits atop the car are each stand-ins throughout testing; the rocket additionally doesn’t have BE-4 engines, as they aren’t wanted for the subsequent spherical of exams. These engines, additionally manufactured by Blue Origin, are present process their very own testing marketing campaign at NASA’s Marshall House Flight Heart and the corporate’s amenities in West Texas.

Upcoming testing with this launcher will enable groups to apply integrating and transporting the car to and from the launch pad, in addition to what is named an built-in refueling take a look at. For this take a look at, the booster will probably be fueled with liquid nitrogen (which isn’t utilized in an precise launch) to confirm that the fluid programs are functioning correctly. Testing ought to take no less than per week, Blue Origin CEO David Limp stated on LinkedIn.

As soon as testing is full, the car will return to Blue’s large storage at Cape Canaveral House Station in Florida, the place engineers will equip the reusable first stage with seven BE-4 engines and pair it with a second stage prepared for fly. (BE-4 engines gained flight heritage earlier this 12 months, once they powered United Launch Alliance’s first Vulcan Centaur rocket launch.)

New Glenn heads towards the launch pad.

New Glenn heads in direction of the launch pad. Picture credit: Blue origin

Limp expressed confidence that the car will attain its deliberate launch date by the top of this 12 months: “Manufacturing continues to progress with a number of boosters, fairings and second phases in our manufacturing facility,” he stated. “We stay up for providing this heavy carry functionality to our clients later this 12 months. »

The discharge of the brand new car will mark a brand new chapter for the 24-year-old firm. The corporate is finest identified for conducting house tourism flights with its New Shepard suborbital rocket. This car, which stands 60 toes tall, solely flies about 66 miles – above what many think about the sting of house, however a great distance from reaching orbital house.

New Glenn is significantly extra highly effective. The 320-foot-tall launch car is Blue Origin’s first heavy-duty rocket, designed to launch greater than 45 tons of payload into low Earth orbit. The reusable first stage will land on a barge within the Atlantic Ocean, the identical manner SpaceX recovers its boosters, and is designed to fly for no less than 25 missions.

The car has already been utilized by a number of clients: the primary launch will carry a pair of NASA spacecraft referred to as ESCAPADE, with Mars as the ultimate vacation spot. Amazon, Bezos’ different firm, additionally awarded New Glenn billions for as much as 27 launches for its upcoming satellite tv for pc web constellation, Undertaking Kuiper. Blue Origin has additionally booked launches for telecommunications suppliers Telecast and Eutelsat for later this decade.

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