Blue Origin prepares for 1st orbital flight with a Dummy New Glenn Rocket

A new Glenn simulator rolled out of Blue Origins rocket factory in Florida on Monday. Blue Origin / Twitter

Jeff Bezos ‘space company Blue Origin is finally showing some progress towards launching one of its rockets into Earth’s orbit – a much-delayed project often mocked by Bezos’ biggest industrial rival, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

On Monday, Blue Origin rolled out a dummy version of the first stage of the New Glenn rocket from its launch facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The first step of the simulator is a 188-foot-long, 23-foot-wide grenade with no engines that would actually send the rocket into space.

“Like New Glenn make progress towards first flight, test with The GS1 simulator would allow the team to practice ground operations for New Glenn’s massive first stage, including the transport from the rocket manufacturing complex to the LC-36 for integration, “Blue Origin wrote in a tweet on Monday. “Although this hardware is not intended to fly, it provides our team with invaluable data to inform future launchers.”

New Glenn is a heavy launcher capable of transporting nearly 100,000 pounds in low orbit around the Earth. It’s almost twice the size of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster. And Blue Origin wants to make both the first and second stages fully recyclable. (Falcon 9 is a partially reusable booster.)

Blue Origin originally planned to launch the first New Glenn mission in 2020. This timeline has been pushed back significantly due to a combination of technical and corporate culture reasons, as revealed in a recent whistleblower essay by the company’s former head of employee communications, Alexandra Abrams .

Blue Origin most recently said that the earliest launch of New Glenn would be by the end of 2022. The company is currently developing and testing key New Glenn components in various facilities. The second stage of the rocket is being developed separately in Cape Canaveral, according to a August report Ars Technica. Its robe is allegedly by being tested at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Ohio.

The heart of the rocket, its BE-4 engine, is to be used for the first time on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket for an upcoming national security mission, which is expected to be launched before the end of this year.

Blue Origin prepares for the first orbital spaceflight, rolling a dummy rocket out to dry run

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