Jeff Bezos says his vision is he wants to see millions of people living and working in space. Bezos’ private spaceflight company Blue Origin is currently working with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to build a new liquid rocket engine called the BE-4. They plan to have rockets flying payloads with the new engine in 2019.
The vehicle Bezos’ company is working on uses a modern booster engine, which is said to be more efficient than those made 20-30 years ago, reports The Washington Post. Bezos also said the vehicle is autonomous, so there’s no need to send test pilots when they’re running trials with it.
The BE4 will produce 550,000 pounds of thrust and is propelled by a mix of liquefied natural gas and oxygen. The fuels are pressurized by a single turbopump before being burned, which scientists say may make it more efficient than using a two-prop system.
Blue Origin is developing technologies to enable human access to space at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability. This is a long-term effort, which we’re pursuing incrementally, step by step. We’re currently focused on developing reusable launch vehicles utilizing rocket-powered Vertical Take-off and Vertical Landing (VTVL) technology.
Aerospace manufacturing and design has details on the BE-4 engine.
Two BE-4s will power each ULA booster, providing 1,100,000-lbf thrust at liftoff. ULA is investing in the engineering and development of the BE-4 to enable availability for national security, civil, human, and commercial missions. Development of the BE-4 engine has been underway for nearly three years and testing of BE-4 components is ongoing at Blue Origin’s test facilities in West Texas. Blue Origin recently commissioned a new large test facility for the BE-4 to support full engine testing.
SOURCES – Blue Origin, Business Insider, Washington post, onlineamd, Youtube
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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