End of 2022! Blue origin delays the first flight of the new Glenn rocket by one year


Tencent technology news on February 26, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space company Blue origin announced the latest schedule for the new Glenn rocket’s first orbital flight, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, about a year later than the original plan of the end of 2021.
The new Glenn is a reusable heavy launch vehicle being developed and built by blue Genesis to complement the company’s existing new Shepard suborbital space launch vehicle. Speaking about the reasons for the delay, blue origin said that in a recent contract bidding process, the U.S. space force decided not to use the new Glenn rocket to launch its national security payload, which prompted it to make the decision.
“The launch schedule of the new Glenn rocket has been adjusted and the current first flight target is the fourth quarter of 2022 to meet the needs of our commercial customers,” blue Genesis said in its blog post. In particular, the company said the move was influenced by the US space force’s decision not to use the new Glenn for the second phase of the national security space launch (NSSL).
The contracts, awarded in August last year, were won by United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX, which beat blue genesis and Northrop Grumman. Launch services will start in 2022, so blue origin has been pushing for the first launch of the new Glenn by the end of this year to meet the needs of the space force.
Blue Genesis also said that although it failed to obtain the contracts and may not face the same pressure as SpaceX, it is still making “significant progress” in the development of the new Glen and the construction of the Cape Canaveral launch facility in Florida.
Blue Genesis founder Bezos has invested billions of dollars in the new Glenn rocket project, which includes the construction of a huge rocket production facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the large-scale renovation of the Space Coast 36 launch complex leased by blue genesis in 2015. The company has recently posted a number of tweets showing its latest progress, including the construction of the new Glenn rocket factory, test facilities and launch pad.
Jarrett Jones, the company’s senior vice president in charge of the new Glen project, said losing the space army contract “is a huge blow for us” and claimed it caused as much as $3 billion to blue origin. Jones said that the design of the new Glenn was tailored in part to send DOD satellites into space, and that blue origin executives had to consider the economic impact when the air force turned to work with other companies.
“We hope to launch national security payloads in the future and remain committed to serving U.S. defense missions,” blue origin said in a statement Blue Genesis won a $255 million contract from the air force to help develop the new Glen. However, according to the plan, the company will be cut off the supply of funds after losing in subsequent projects.
But Bezos, after announcing his decision to step down as Amazon’s chief executive, has freed himself from the daily routine of the retail giant and is now expected to step up his management of blue origin. The company was founded by Bezos in 2000 as a passion project. Bezos said in 2017 that he would sell $1 billion worth of Amazon stock annually to help fund blue origin.
Although the blue origin rocket has not yet entered orbit and has lagged far behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX, it has strengthened its competitive base in the space industry in recent years. The company is currently leading a team of veteran defense companies trying to provide NASA with a manned lunar lander. SpaceX is also competing for the contract with its starship rocket system.
Another key business of blue origin is the be-4 rocket engine that powers the new Glenn rocket. The engine will also power the Vulcan rocket of the United Launch Alliance. However, it was this kind of rocket that defeated the new Glen and won a lucrative contract with the US Department of defense. Vulcan plans to launch for the first time by the end of 2021. After some development setbacks last year, blue Genesis expects to ship the be-4 engine that can be used for flight to the United Launch Alliance in mid-2021 to continue the Vulcan program. (Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)