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Blue Origin Unveils Reusable Orbital Launch Vehicle

By | September 15, 2015
      Blue Origin Orbital Vehicle

      Jeff Bezos revealing Blue Origin’s new reusable orbital launch vehicle. Photo: NASA Screenshot

      [Via Satellite 09-15-2015] Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, announced today that the company plans to build and launch reusable orbital rockets from Cape Canaveral, Fla.’s Complex 36 launch site. Bezos said Blue Origin will also build a production facility to manufacture a reusable fleet of orbital launchers and ready them for repeat flights. Blue Origin is locating vehicle assembly near its launch site to simplify processing and transporting the rockets. The company did not release specifics about the rocket’s capabilities, though Bezos said more details would be forthcoming in 2016.

      “The new orbital vehicle uses our BE-4 engines [and] it uses our BE-3 engines. We are very excited. It’s vertical Take-Off, Vertical Landing (VTVL); it’s an architecture that we have a lot of experience with from our New Shepard program. It’s a great architecture because it scales to unusually large size. It’s a fully reusable booster stage, and next year I’m going to share a lot more details with you about that vehicle,” he said.

      Blue Origin also plans to conduct acceptance testing of the BE-4 engine at its Florida location. The engine is capable of 550,000 lbf and United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) will use it for its Vulcan rocket.