A ripple could be felt through the space exploration world after Jeff Bezos tweeted a picture the engine that will power his new gigantic rocket that is expected to accompany a new spacecraft in the coming years.
On March 6, Bezos—the CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin—tweeted a picture of the BE-4 rocket engine, which has been in development for more than four years and is expected to be ready for takeoff by 2019.
According to CNBC, the BE-4 engine is now complete and will be used to power the New Glenn rocket—a substantial rocket that will carry astronauts and payloads to low-Earth orbit destinations and beyond.
The New Glenn reusable rocket will be 23 feet in diameter and as high as 313 feet and will require seven BE-4 engines to power. Bezos has targeted 2020 as when he’d like to see the rocket fly.
The rocket is capable of putting a 50-ton payload into a low-Earth orbit.
Bezos’s company is considered a competitor to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Blue Origin has already tested reusable rockets with the previous iteration of the New Glenn rocket which was dubbed the New Shepard rocket, explained CNBC. The New Shepard rocket can perform a vertical takeoff and landing, but does not go as high or as fast as the New Glenn.
On March 7 during the Satellite 2017 Convention in Washington D.C. Blue Origin announced that they have entered into a contract with Eutelsat Communications for a launch on the New Glenn rocket that is expected to initiate flights in 2020. The New Glenn launcher will be compatible with virtually all Eutelsat satellites. The agreement also covers the launch of a geostationary satellite, which is expected to occur in 2021 or 2022.
“In including New Glenn in our manifest we are pursuing our longstanding strategy of innovation that drives down the cost of access to space and drives up performance,” Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, said in a statement. “This can only be good news for the profitability and sustainability of our industry.”
Bezos also commented on the agreement.
“Eutelsat is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative satellite operators, and we are honored that they chose Blue Origin and our New Glenn orbital launch vehicle,” Bezos said in a statement. “Eutelsat has launched satellites on many new vehicles and shares both our methodical approach to engineering and our passion for driving down the cost of access to space.
“Welcome to the launch manifest, Eutelsat, can’t wait to fly together.”