Sci-tech

Blue Origin plans Eutelsat launch from Florida

Blue Origin plans Eutelsat launch from Florida

Meanwhile, Blue Origin, SpaceX, and others could disrupt a decades-old industry and lower the cost of access to space for everyone.

French satellite operator Eutelsat will be the first commercial customer for Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket, the two companies announced Tuesday. If successful, Blue Origin will charge ahead with regular launches. Despite only being unveiled very recently, the booster already has its first customer, with communications satellite giant Eutelsat slated to be use it for a geostationary satellite launch, presumably in 2019.

Not quite as much as the advertised 120,000-pound payload SpaceX is touting for the not yet launched Falcon Heavy, but still impressive.

Blue Origin's BE-4 engine in development to power the New Glenn rocket is scheduled to perform its full-scale hotfire test later this year at the company's remote West Texas test site.

The agreement with Blue Origin covers the launch of a geostationary satellite in the 2021-2022 timeframe.

"It's really a great partnership", he said of the contract with Eutelsat.


Seven BE-4s will be used as the main engines for Blue Origin's next big rocket - called the New Glenn. The company plans to launch five satellites over the next four years, according to its website. This morning, CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted out two pictures of the finished engine, noting that two more fully assembled BE-4s will be ready soon.

"Their solid engineering approach, and their policy to develop technologies that will form the base of a broad generation of launchers, corresponds to what we expect from our industrial partners".

"In including New Glenn in our manifest, we are pursuing our longstanding strategy of innovation that drives down the cost of access to space and drives up performance", Belmer said in a statement. Not wanting to be outdone by SpaceX's ambitious plans for getting humans to Mars and around the Moon, Bezos has revealed the rocket he claims will "end American dependence" on Russian rocket engines.

The use of BE-4 engine will not be confined to New Glenn rocket, as another user will be the United Launch Alliance for its Vulcan rocket coming up as a successor to the Atlas V rocket.

The New Glenn looks to be a monster rocket.

Test flights of the new rocket are expected to start in 2020, with the launch of Eutelsat's mission to an orbit more than 22,000 miles high anticipated a year or two later. The New Glenn is expected to be 7 meters (23 feet) in diameter and range from 82 meters (270 feet) to 95 meters (313 feet).


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