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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin debuts New Glenn rocket, signaling a new era in space exploration

Jess Bezos’ Blue Origin has achieved a significant milestone with the debut of its New Glenn rocket on the launch pad, marking a crucial step in its development for future space missions.

Updated on: Feb 24 2024, 12:35 IST
Named after John Glenn, the Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket promises to revolutionize heavy-lift space missions with its advanced technology. (Blue Origin)

Blue Origin, the space technologies founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, has achieved a significant milestone with the debut of its New Glenn rocket on the launch pad at Launch Complex 36 (LC-36). This marks the first time the advanced heavy-lift vehicle has been rolled out and upended, providing a glimpse of what's to come for future space missions.

New Glenn rocket debuts

As per a Blue Origin blog post. the New Glenn rocket is poised to play a pivotal role in various missions, including supporting NASA's Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon. The successful rollout and upending on the launch pad signify a crucial step forward in the vehicle's development, paving the way for its inaugural launch later this year.

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The journey to the launch pad began in December, with the transportation of New Glenn's first-stage modules from the factory to the Integration Facility located nine miles away. The subsequent test campaign will focus on validating various systems, including cryogenic fluid loading, pressure control, and venting systems, in preparation for launch.

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About the rocket

Named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, the New Glenn rocket stands over 320 feet tall and features a seven-meter payload fairing, capable of accommodating twice the volume of standard commercial launch systems. Its reusable first stage aims to complete a minimum of 25 missions, landing on a sea-based platform located approximately 620 miles downrange.

Powered by seven BE-4 engines developed by Blue Origin, the New Glenn rocket utilizes liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas (LNG) propellants, offering enhanced performance and cleaner combustion compared to traditional fuels.

Blue Origin has a robust customer manifest for the New Glenn rocket, including agreements with NASA, Project Kuiper, Telesat, and Eutelsat, among others. Additionally, the company is seeking certification from the U.S. Space Force for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program, underscoring its commitment to supporting national security objectives.

The successful debut of the New Glenn rocket on the launch pad marks a significant advancement in Blue Origin's efforts to expand access to space and usher in a new era of space exploration and commercialization.

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First Published Date: 24 Feb, 12:35 IST