Feeds

Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

Blue Origin fires up its BE-3 machine

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos' private space outfit Blue Origin has announced it has successfully tested its BE-3 space rocket engine "in a pattern that simulated a suborbital mission".

The BE-3 firing. Pic: Blue Origin

The BE-3 roared to life at the company's test facility near Van Horn, Texas, on 20 November. Burning liquid hydrogen, it "produced 110,000 pounds (49,900kg) in a 145-second boost phase, shutting down for approximately four-and-a-half minutes to simulate coast through apogee, then restarting and throttling down to 25,000 pounds (11,340kg) thrust to simulate controlled vertical landing".

The motor is designed to lift Blue Origin's New Shepard suborbital system, and ultimately carry humans to low Earth orbit as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Rob Meyerson, Blue Origin's prez and and program manager, said: "The BE-3 will gain extensive flight heritage on our New Shepard suborbital system prior to entering service on vehicles carrying humans to low-Earth orbit. Given its high-performance, low cost, and reusability, the BE-3 is well suited for boost, upper-stage and in-space applications on both government and commercial launch systems.”

The "reusability" factor is a novel feature of the New Shepard concept, representing a boost stage which returns to terra firma, hence the test's simulated controlled vertical landing phase.

According to NASA, the BE-3 is "the first new liquid-hydrogen rocket engine built for production since the RS-68, which was developed more than a decade ago for the Delta IV rocket family".

It's a bold choice of fuel for Blue Origin, at a time when many rocket scientists - including those working for rival space-chaser SpaceX - favour easy-to-handle RP-1 (kerosene).

While a SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully deployed a communications satellite into geostationary orbit on Tuesday, there's no indication of just when Blue Origin's New Shepard will get off the ground. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.