Feeds

Bold Bezos aims skywards with liquid hydrogen and SPACE ROCKET engine

Blue Origin fires up its BE-3 machine

The Power of One Infographic

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. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.