Although SpaceX might have contracts with NASA to eventually send astronauts to the International Space Station on one of its Falcon 9 rockets, they’re definitely not the only commercial space company in town that’s making reusable rockets that can be landed on barges.
Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, is also in the business of making reusable rockets, and while they aren’t yet of the same variety that SpaceX makes, perhaps the New Glen rocket will give SpaceX’s Falcon 9 a run for its money.
Image Credit: Blue Origin/YouTube
The new rocket, which has a brand-new landing system, is named after John Glen, who was the first American to visit space.
Blue Origin has a reputable name behind them, as none of the company’s New Shepard rockets have ever exploded or failed to land like many of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets have, but can New Glen hold the same reputation?
Blue Origin has already contracted with a couple of customers, including Eutelsat, to use the upcoming New Glen rocket for satellite launches; the rocket itself is nothing short of huge. New Glen will have the power and capability to not only launch satellites, but also to take crew members into space if necessary.
While New Glen won’t be around for test flights until 2020, and the customers booking with Blue Origin will have to wait even longer, until 2022, before the space company can start launching their satellites into space.
The rocket will have almost twice the lifting capability of SpaceX’s current Falcon 9 rocket, but SpaceX’s upcoming Falcon Heavy already has it beat. In terms of size comparison, the following graphic does a pretty good job of explaining:
Image Credit: Blue Origin
Blue Origin, which has never really been a company for profit, may actually be able to turn a new leaf by opening its arms to the satellite-launching market. There’s a pretty penny to be made, assuming the company plays its cards right.
With reusable rocket technology proving to be the wave of the future, space launches are sure to drop in price going forward. Rather than paying to re-build a multi-million-dollar rocket for each launch, one simply needs to re-fuel a rocket, which is generally about a quarter of a million dollars in comparison.
It should be interesting to see how Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos taunt each other on social media in coming months.
Source: USA Today