Blue Origin staffing up and pushing for 2020 New Glenn launch

Jeff Bezos is increasing the staff of his rocket company Blue Origin to 3000 people over the next two or three years. Blue Origin currently has 1500 people. SpaceX has 6000 people. Blue Origin has not yet reached orbit with any rocket and is developing the New Glenn reusable heavy launch rocket.

New Glenn’s first-stage booster will be reusable like the SpaceX Falcon 9. Blue Origin has said there will be test flights starting within two years.

Blue Origin is finalizing details on New Glenn’s design and are building model components that must be put through extreme testing.

French satellite firm Eutelsat SA is the first New Glenn customer.

Around 800 small satellites are expected to launch annually beginning around 2020. This will be more than double the annual average over the past decade.

Blue Origin needs to get launching and establish itself as the second choice after SpaceX. There will be value in being the best second choice. The US Air Force and NASA will support a second launch option.

New Shepard (sub-orbital) flew for the ninth time on July 18, 2018. The escape motor was fired shortly after booster separation. The Crew Capsule was pushed hard by the escape test and they stressed the rocket to test that astronauts can get away from an anomaly at any time during flight. The mission was a success for both the booster and capsule.

United Launch Alliance Vulcan Rocket

The Vulcan rocket, aka Vulcan Centaur, is a heavy-payload launch vehicle under development since 2014 by United Launch Alliance (ULA). The first launch of the new rocket to occur no earlier than mid-2020.

Blue Origin is building the BE-4 engine for the Vulcan. Rocketdyne has a competing AR-1 rocket. It seems like Blue Origin will win with the BE-4.

8 thoughts on “Blue Origin staffing up and pushing for 2020 New Glenn launch”

  1. First off, this is his money. He is welcome to spend it as he sees fit. Nobody tells you how to spend your money.
    Secondly, innovation like Rockets, Aircrafts, Cars, roads, trains, boats, Wind/Solar Energy, Nuclear energy, etc have all saved many many ppl in society, while things like diabetes cure would save a small group of individuals.
    It is ppl like Musk and Bezo that improve society, while Gates is throwing money away but will improve life for individuals.

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  2. Correct. Bezos listened to Gerard O’Neil. Musk listened to Robert Zubrin. If Bezos’s big bucks can overcome Musk’s lead in launch economics, he’ll take the lead. However, Musk’s insurance against this outcome is a non-Zubrin enterprise upon which he’s wisely embarked: Starlink.

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  3. Because he can afford it, and he’s wanted to build rockets etc for a long time. BO is still in the development phase. When they finish New Glenn, they can compete for launches. SpaceX took a while to develop F9 too.

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  4. Why is he in the current space race ?. So far he makes no real profit, doesnt put anything up in space, so its only costing him money. Sure one can always hire technicians to create something better. But without a commercial plan like space X has (to also launch some satelites) and improve upon those expericenses too, this seams a doomed project and a terrible way to waste money, rather invest it in a diabetic cure or so. That way he would keep more potential customers alive for his webshop.

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  5. China is a minor infringer of IP compared, say, to South Korea. Bill Gertz’s book, “Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security tells how the Administration transferred cutting edge nuclear, military and other technology from classified status to Commerce and then openly sold the technology to China. GE transferred its aerospace and its imaging IP to China in exchange for market access, and GE is just the tip of the iceberg. All were short-term decisions now coming back to haunt us.

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  6. I think Bezos has the better idea with mining, manufacturing and building large habitats on orbit, like the Gateway and other designs. I see Musk and Bezos merging with the many other players to move forward.

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  7. Yes, we need a free market in place, and that means competition. And in the funny market of space launchers, the USA government will very much like to help them survive and thrive, just to have options.

    If they earn the second place, and start gradually catching up to SpaceX capabilities, it will come a day when they will eventually catch up to whatever SpaceX is planning. Namely, fully reusable UHLVs, and that’s a good outcome for mankind.

    It’s really critical to have these caravels and clippers of space ready, in preparation of one of the biggest societal changes ever, happening this century.

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