Feeds

Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

Blue Origin fires up its BE-3 machine

The next step in data security

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.