Blue Origin installs New Glenn rocket on launch pad for the first time

While one private space company has successfully landed its Odysseus spacecraft on the moon, another is lifting its superheavy New Glenn rocket to the launch pad in preparation for its first flight. The space company Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, shared a new photo showing a rocket on the pad at Launch Complex 36 (LC-36) of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The New Glenn launch vehicle on the launch pad. Photo: Blue Origin

Blue Origin described the placement on the launch pad as part of a test campaign to allow its teams to practice, test, and upgrade skills in vehicle integration, transportation, ground support, and launch operations. The rocket will stay on the launch pad for about a week.

“This milestone represents the first view of the advanced heavy-lift vehicle, which will support a multitude of customer missions and Blue Origin programs, including returning to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program,” the company said in a statement.

New Glen will also be used for 27 Amazon Project Kuiper Internet satellite deployment missions in the coming years in competition with SpaceX’s Starlink service.

The height of the new rocket is about 98 meters. It includes a seven-meter payload fairing, which is twice the size of standard five-meter commercial launch vehicles. According to representatives of Blue Origin, the fairing is so large that it accommodates three school buses.

Its reusable first stage should last for at least 25 missions, and like the SpaceX Falcon 9 workhorse, it will land on an offshore platform shortly after launch.

The report notes that the BE-4 New Glenn engines, which are currently being tested at the NASA facility in Huntsville, Alabama, and at Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas, will not be installed for testing at Kennedy Base.

The New Glenn rocket is named after John Glenn, who in 1962 became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Reacting to the fact that the rocket was on the launch site for the first time, Bezos tweeted: “Big year ahead. Let’s go!”

Earlier, we reported on how Blue Origin successfully launched and landed the New Shepard rocket.

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