The Fight over Reusable Rockets

The Daily Mail, in its characteristic way, offers a picture-rich profile of the Bezos and Mush fight over reusable rockets.

Billionaire space battle takes to Twitter: Jeff Bezos takes aim at Elon Musk by tweeting first images of model ‘megarocket’ – just hours after SpaceX founder showed off Mars rocket engine

  • ‘New Glenn’ is a reusable launcher that will focus on space tourism
  • Blue Origin announced there are two stages of the rocket
  • ‘New Glenn 3-stage’ is 313ft tall and ‘New Glenn 2-stage’ is 270 feet tall
  • Each stage lifts off with 3.85m pounds of thrust from seven BE-4 engines
  • Set to launch by the end of the decade at Cape Canaveral, Florida

After years of secrecy, Blue Origin and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos finally unveiled their New Glenn ‘megarocket’ earlier this month. Now, Bezos has revealed the latest progress on the project with a series of wind tunnel pictures showing the ‘New Glenn’ in different configurations, taking a leaf out of Elon Musk’s book. Named after the first US astronaut to orbit Earth, the ‘New Glenn’ launcher is larger than SpaceX’s future Heavy rocket and is set to visit the final frontier by the end of the decade.

A second picture revealed the bottom of the rocket. Called ‘New Glenn’, this launcher comes in two stages that makes it larger than SpaceX’s future Heavy rocket.’New Glenn 3-stage’ is 23-feet in diameter and stands 313 feet tall.

Bezos, left and Musk, right are locked in a battle to create reusable rocket systems. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic performed the first test flight for its latest spacecraft last week, SpaceShipTwo, which will conduct public trips into space and charge customers a fee.

However, in the same week, the world watched in horror when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 burst into flames on the Cape Canaveral launch pad during a routine check for its long awaited trip. But Bezos appears to be hopeful in today’s announcement – ‘our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,’ he wrote in an email to the Washington Post (which Bezos owns and uses as his public media campaign).

BEZOS’ NEW ROCKETS

Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has unveiled a new rocket that will launch payloads and people into orbit. Called ‘New Glenn’, this launcher comes in two stages that makes it larger than SpaceX’s future Heavy rocket. ‘New Glenn 3-stage’ is 23-feet in diameter and stands 313 feet tall. And ‘New Glenn 2-stage’ is also 23-feet in diameter, but measures 270 feet tall. Each stage lifts off with 3.85 million pounds of thrust from seven BE-4 engines. A single vacuum-optimized BE-3 engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, will power New Glenn’s third stage. However,the booster and the second stage are identical in both variants. Blue Origin plans to fly New Glenn by the end of the decade from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

It's been years in the making and now, Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has unveiled a new rocket that will launch payloads and people into orbit. The 'New Glenn' rockets are larger than SpaceX's future Heavy rockets and will fly by the end of the decade

It’s been years in the making and now, Blue Origin and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has unveiled a new rocket that will launch payloads and people into orbit. The ‘New Glenn’ rockets are larger than SpaceX’s future Heavy rockets and will fly by the end of the decade. Blue Origin has always aimed at moving its vehicles into the space tourism market and the New Glenn, named in honor of astronaut John Glenn, are key players for this plan. Both stages are 23-feet in diameter, but the ‘New Glenn 3-stage’ is 313 feet tall, whereas ‘New Glenn 2-stage measures 270-feet. And each stage lifts off with 3.85 million pounds of thrust from seven BE-4 engines. A single vacuum-optimized BE-3 engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, will power New Glenn’s third stage, according to Bezos. However,the booster and the second stage are identical in both variants.’New Glenn is designed to launch commercial satellites and to fly humans into space,’ Bezos wrote.

Blue Origin's announcement comes at a crucial time for the commercial space industry. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic performed the first test flight for its latest spacecraft last week, SpaceShipTwo 9pictured), which will conduct public trips into space

Blue Origin’s announcement comes at a crucial time for the commercial space industry. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic performed the first test flight for its latest spacecraft last week, SpaceShipTwo 9pictured), which will conduct public trips into space

THE RACE TO BUILD REUSABLE ROCKETS

Reusable rockets would cut costs and waste in the space industry, which currently loses millions of dollars in jettisoned machinery after each launch. Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency are also developing similar technology and are in testing stages. Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post newspaper, said last month that Blue Origin expects to begin crewed test flights of the New Shepard, the company’s flagship rocket, next year and begin flying paying passengers as early as 2018. SpaceX has managed to land four rockets from space back on Earth, three on sea and one on land, while Blue Origin’s New Shepard successfully completed a third launch and vertical landing in April this year. The Indian space agency also hopes to develop its own frugal shuttle, as it seeks to cash in on a huge and lucrative demand from other countries to send up their satellites, after a successful test launch last month.

The New Glenn rockets will also be designed similar to Blue Origin's New Shepard (pictured) in that it will also be reusable, which Bezos says will cut costs for space travel

SpaceX has test fired its a prototype of its new Raptor engine (pictured). The rocket engine is three times more powerful than those used in the company's Falcon 9 rockets. The new engines also use methane rather than kerosene 

SpaceX has test fired its a prototype of its new Raptor engine (pictured). The rocket engine is three times more powerful than those used in the company’s Falcon 9 rockets. The new engines also use methane rather than kerosene. Blue Origin plans to fly New Glenn by the end of the decade from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. And will use these rockets solely to launch commercial satellites and fly humans into space, Bezos writes.’Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,’ he shares.’It won’t be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.’

THE WORLD WATCHED IN HORROR: SPACEX EXPLODES

This is the dramatic moment the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket suffered a catastrophic explosion on the Cape Canaveral launch pad during a routine pre-launch check on September 1. The blast, which shook buildings and windows miles away, occurred shortly after 9am and destroyed Facebook’s $200million Amos-6 satellite that was set to launch on Saturday morning aboard the reusable rocket. Billionaire SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the cause of the massive blast – which caused no injuries – is still unknown as the accident throws into question the future of his program of subcontracting his ‘reusable’ and ‘recycled’ rockets to NASA. The satellite would have opened up free internet to more than 14 countries in Africa to serve the most populated areas more efficiently. No additional details were provided. It wasn’t clear whether the rocket caused the problem or something else on the pad. The pad is normally cleared of workers before test firings. Dark smoke filled the overcast sky, and a half-hour later, a black cloud hung low across the eastern horizon. It’s the same kind of SpaceX rocket used to launch space station supplies for NASA. NASA – SpaceX’s major customer – said the explosion occurred at Launch Complex 40 at the Air Force station, and Kennedy emergency staff was on standby.

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