Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is delaying the first launch of the next-generation New Glenn rocket until late 2022
A Pathfinder version of the New Glenn missile in the company’s manufacturing facility.
Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin delayed the first launch of its New Glenn rocket by a year, citing the loss of key Pentagon launch deals to rivals SpaceX and ULA as a catalyst for the rescheduling.
Blue Origin plans the fourth quarter of 2022 for the first launch of New Glenn, after previously setting the date in late 2021. The company said the “updated maiden flight target follows the Space Force’s recent decision not to select New Glenn” for the final round of national safety launch contracts.
The Department of Defense awarded SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, the latter a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, in August with orders worth billions for launches over five years. The Pentagon selected SpaceX and ULA over offers from Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman.
“We hope to be able to launch NSSL payloads in the future and continue to serve the US National Defense Mission,” Blue Origin said in a press release on Thursday.
An artist’s illustration of a New Glenn rocket standing on the launch pad in Florida.
New Glenn is the next generation rocket developed by Blue Origin, with a rocket booster that, similar to the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, can land and be reused. Blue Origin expects each New Glenn rocket to take off and land 25 times.
The missile would be bigger than any other vehicle currently in flight, and the company claims it invested $ 2.5 billion in developing New Glenn. New Glenn is about 300 meters tall and is expected to bring about 45,000 kilograms of payload into orbit.
An aerial view of the company’s manufacturing and testing facility in Florida.
Blue Origin has modeled New Glenn’s booster phase for testing prior to its first launch in Florida.
The company has invested heavily in manufacturing and testing facilities in Cape Canaveral, covering approximately 1 million square feet. The company found that of the $ 2.5 billion invested in New Glenn, approximately $ 1 billion was spent on rebuilding the LC-36 launchpad.
Blue Origin’s work on LC-36 includes building a tower that can aid people launching on New Glenn, which the company later hopes to do.
Bezos is personally funding the development of Blue Origin by selling part of his Amazon stock. While he said he sells about $ 1 billion in Amazon stock annually to fund the space company, Bezos recently increased his sales of Amazon stock, paying out more than $ 10 billion in 2020 .
Half of a rocket nose cone, also known as the half fairing, for New Glenn.
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