The Strategist

Amazon's founder introduced a rival to Elon Musk's Falcon

09/13/2016 - 15:23

Founder of the Internet company Amazon Jeff Bezos, ranked fifth in Forbes’s ranking of billionaires, announced creation of a new space rocket heavy class New Glenn.
Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin has announced development of heavy-class space rocket New Glenn. The rocket will boost into orbit satellites and spacecraft with crew on board.

According to Bezos, the rocket will be produced in two versions, with two and three stages. New Glenn is expected to be to fly already by 2020. Just as Elon Musk’s list rocket Falcon, first step the new booster will be returned to Earth. This, according to Bezos, will reduce cost of launching, making it more competitive. 

"Our goal are millions of people who live and work in space, and New Glenn is an important step in this direction", - said Bezos. The first stage of the lift rocket will have seven self-developed engines BE-4. 

As noted by Popular Mechanics, Blue Origin rocket should become a competitor to SpaceX’s Falcon 9, owned by Elon Musk. Popular Science indicates that New Glenn’s size is much larger than that of Falcon.

In March 2016, Blue Origin aired plans to start sending tourists into space by 2018. According to Bezos, Blue Origin expects to start test runs of suborbital ship New Shepard with test pilots in 2017. If the tests prove successful, then the company will proceed with sending "paying astronauts" in 2018, said the businessman then. Until now, owner of Blue Origin did not specify possible date of commencement of commercial operations.

In January, Blue Origin hold successful vertical landing of first stage of New Shepard reusable rocket after it reached an altitude of 101.7 km.

According to the company’s information, New Glenn engineers used best practices from New Shepard, including vertical landing technology. Bezos did not specify whether New Glenn is reusable, but they presented an image of New Glenn rocket booster with six legs, used for landing.

In the future, the company also plans to build another rocket called New Armstrong, but its specifications have not been announced yet.

Bezos made his statement a few days after September 1, when Falcon 9 lift rocket and a communication satellite exploded on the launch pad. Head of SpaceX Elon Musk said that the explosion occurred in an oxygen tank of Falcon 9’s top step.

Billionaire Elon Musk founded SpaceX company in 2002. It is engaged in production of lift rockets Falcon. Earlier, SpaceX has successfully developed and launched into space light-class Falcon 1 and middle-class Falcon 9. The company has had a successful mission to the ISS, and SpaceX several times managed to land first stage of the Falcon 9 on land and an offshore platform.

SpaceX is also developing a heavy launch vehicle Falcon Heavy, which will be able to boost 54.4 tons of cargo into the low Earth orbit, and ensure delivery of 13.6 tons to Mars.