Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled the design of his company’s future rockets. Named as the New Glenn after the first American to reach space, the rocket will deploy seven of the company’s next generation BE-4 rocket engines. To put things in perspective, SpaceX’s future Falcon Heavy rocket and the United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy will both pale in size when compared to the New Glenn.
According to Bezos, the New Glenn will have huge proportions. The rocket will measure almost 23-feet in diameter and stand at 270 feet tall. It will also have a huge sea-level thrust of almost 3.85 million pounds. And if you think that is large, wait until you get a load of the three-stage variant of New Glenn. Standing at over 313 feet tall, with a single BE-3 engine powering its upper stage, the 2 and 3 stage rockets will be larger than any other rocket in existence.
And larger is not the half of it. United Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy, the most powerful rocket currently in operation has a launch thrust of about 2.1 million pounds. That means that the New Glenn, once its up and operational, will outstrip the Delta IV Heavy by a significant margin. However, by then SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket which is set to fly in 2017, with a thrust of about 5.1 million pounds at sea level, may well have outstripped it by then.
As per Bezos,
New Glenn is designed to launch commercial satellites and to fly humans into space. The three-stage variant—with its high specific impulse hydrogen upper stage—is capable of flying demanding beyond-LEO missions.
Blue Origin is currently putting together the launch and production facilities for the Glenn rockets at the Cape Canaveral and plans to launch them near the end of this decade. What’s more,many of these rockets are being built to provide re-usability. In fact, if you would believe Bezos, the first stage of the booster is being designed to fly a minimum of 25 missions.
While such as announcement would be dismissed out of hand as an idle boast if coming from anyone else, not so with Blue Origin. While 25 is still a far-away number, the company has already managed to reuse and land the same rocket as many as four times.
Well, BO’s new rockets may just change the face of space and interplanetary travel in the near future. The New Glenn rockets will also be operable with either one or two one upper stages. With one upper stage, the rocket will be able to send satellites and people into lower Earth orbit (LEO). On the other hand, with two upper stages, the New Glenn is capable of taking payloads to the LEO and beyond.
And Bezos is not quite done yet, nowhere near done in fact. In an e-mail sent to ArsTechnica, the Amazon founder said,
New Glenn is a very important step. It won’t be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.
Armstrong? If Glenn is the name of an orbital rocket than Armstrong should be…..right? Is Bezos perhaps looking to make moon his business? Well, it is too early to tell at the moment. However, as far as thrust power is concerned, Blue Origin is certainly getting there. The Saturn V rocket which took humans to the moon, had about 7.5 million pounds of thrust. Considering that New Glenn has around 4 million pounds of thrust, New Armstrong may well reach the moon.
However, that is all merely hearsay at this point. I mean why stop at the Moon at all, Mars is larger and has much better prospects to be developed as a hiking resort — what with its huge mountains. Meanwhile, the addition of the Glenn series of rockets is certain to significantly boost the company’s capabilities and take it to a new level.