Blue Origin Suddenly Gets Chatty, Announces Launch Delay

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Unlike other commercial space companies I could name (I know who they are, even if they don’t), Blue Origin rarely speaks unless it actually has something to say. So, when videos suddenly appeared on Twitter this morning with tours of the company’s facilities to show their progress on the new New Glenn rocket, I figured it had to be something important.

Sure enough, it was. New Glenn’s maiden flight is now delayed until the fourth quarter of 2022. The original plan was to launch in 2020, and then later this year. Things are clearly progressing slower than anticipated.

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Blue Origin Fact Sheet on New Glenn, Engine Development

New Glenn is a reusable, vertical-landing booster with 3.85 million pounds of thrust, (Credit: Blue Origin)

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin released a fact sheet about its programs when it opened its new Huntsville manufacturing facility on Monday. Below is an excerpt on the company’s New Glenn rocket and its BE-3, BE-4 and BE-7 engine development program.

BLUE ORIGIN FACT SHEET

New Glenn

Named after John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, New Glenn is a single configuration, heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle capable of carrying people and payloads routinely to low Earth orbit, geostationary transfer orbit, cislunar and beyond. Its first stage is fully reusable and built for 25 missions initially.

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Jeff Bezos to Make Commercial Launch Announcement Next Month

New Shepard flight test (Credit: Blue Origin)
New Shepard flight test (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin Founder Jeff Bezos is set to make a “significant announcement concerning the commercial launch industry” at Cape Canaveral on Sept. 15.

The announcement is expected to confirm Blue Origin’s intent to build rockets on the Space Coast and launch them from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The company has been negotiating a package with Space Florida and other agencies that would result in construction of a manufacturing facility in Exploration Park just south of Kennedy Space Center’s secure area on Merritt Island, and eventual launches of orbital human spaceflight missions from Launch Complex 36.

Space Florida’s board last week gave its approval for the state economic development agency to finalize the terms of an agreement, referring only to the deal’s code name of “Project Panther.”

Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello then said he thought the deal would be made public within a month or so.

 











Experts Review Plans for Florida Commercial Launch Complex

FROM SPACE FLORIDA’S MARCH NEWSLETTER

In February, a group of space industry veterans gathered for a preliminary design review of Launch Complex 36. The group, made up of former 45th Space Wing and launch industry managers totaling over 150 years of experience at the Eastern Range, all had previous experience with Launch Complex 36 operations when it was an active Air Force pad.

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Want to Launch Your Rocket? Fill Out This Easy Online Form…

SPACE FLORIDA PRESS RELEASE

As build out preparations begin for Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, commercial launch and payload providers interested in launching from Florida are being asked to complete a quick survey on Space Florida’s Website. The information gathered from potential customers will be used to develop the build out plan for the launch complex, which is expected to be ready for operation by fall 2010.

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