Monday, February 26, 2024

Blue Origin prepares for historic launch: first stages of New Glenn successfully connected

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Company Blue Origin, founded by Jeff Bezos (Amazon), successfully assembled two stages of its rocket New Glenn at Cosmodrome 36 (LC-36) in Cape Canaveral.

This event precedes the planned first launch of the rocket this year. Photo of the combined stages was published by Blue Origin on their official page in X.

The two first stages of the Blue Origin New Glenn rocket are fused together. Photo, published Blue Origin in X 22 January 2024. Source: Blue Origin

The first stage of New Glenn was delivered to the cosmodrome several weeks ago from Blue Origin’s warehouse on Florida’s Space Coast. The height of the rocket is 98 meters, and its payload will allow it to lift into low Earth orbit 50 tons (45 metric tons). The New Glenn significantly surpasses the Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX in lift-off, exceeding its capacity by two times.

A feature of the New Glenn, similarly to the Falcon 9, is the use of a reusable first stage. It is equipped with seven BE-4 engines, developed by Blue Origin. These engines successfully passed the debut flight on the Vulcan Centaur rocket, developed by United Launch Alliance. This will allow Blue Origin to reduce launch costs and increase competitiveness in the commercial launch market.

The first launch of New Glenn will deliver a mission of two space instruments EscaPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) from NASA to explore Mars. It is planned that this launch will take place in August this year.

Development of the New Glenn rocket took more than 10 years and although the debut was initially planned for 2020, it was postponed several times. However, Blue Origin intends to send its rocket into space, expanding its competitive opportunities in the international market.

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