SpaceX competitor: The date of the first launch of the New Glenn rocket is announced

The first launch of the New Glenn rocket will take place on September 29. This was announced in a speech by Nick Bernardini, an employee of the NASA Committee on planetary protection.

New Glenn rocket simulator on the launch pad. Source: Blue Origin

The New Glenn rocket has been developed by Blue Origin since 2012. It has a two-stage design. Its height is 98 meters, its diameter is 7 meters. The rocket will be able to carry up to 45 tons of cargo into low orbit and up to 13.6 tons of cargo into geostationary orbit.

The first stage of the New Glenn is equipped with seven BE-4 engines powered by a methane-oxygen mixture. It is reusable and will land vertically after separation. Thus, according to the designers, it will be able to compete with SpaceX rockets. The second stage will use a different fuel mixture, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen. In the past, Blue Origin has stated that in the future they intend to create a fully reusable version of the second stage of New Glenn.

During its development, the New Glenn project faced a number of difficulties, due to which the launch of the rocket was repeatedly postponed. But this year, its first and second stages were delivered to Cape Canaveral. New Glenn specialists also placed a mass-dimensional rocket simulator on the launch pad, having worked out the procedure for its installation. 

As part of its debut mission, the rocket will have to send a pair of EscaPADE probes to Mars. They are designed to study the magnetosphere and atmosphere of the Red Planet, as well as how they interact with the solar wind.

It is worth noting that at the moment the launch date of New Glenn is known only from the NASA presentation. Blue Origin has not yet announced any specific flight dates for its carrier.

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