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posted by martyb on Saturday September 29 2018, @12:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the things-are-looking-UP! dept.

Jeff Bezos's rocket company beats out spaceflight veteran for engine contract

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket company just scored a major contract. His company's BE-4 engines will power United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur, a new suite of rockets that will aim to better compete with Elon Musk's SpaceX on price. Its first launch is slated for 2020. The contract award with ULA marks a high-profile vote of confidence for Bezos's space startup.

"We are very glad to have our BE-4 engine selected by United Launch Alliance. United Launch Alliance is the premier launch service provider for national security missions, and we're thrilled to be part of their team and that mission," Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement announcing the award on Thursday.

[...] Blue Origin's win does not come as a huge surprise. The BE-4 is further along in development than the comparable Aerojet engine, dubbed the AR1, and is expected to be less expensive to make. [ULA CEO Tory] Bruno previously expressed his preference for Blue's BE-4 over Aerojet's AR1.

BE-4.

Also at Ars Technica.

Related: Blue Origin Will Build its Rocket Engine in Alabama
NASA Opens Door to Possibly Lowering SLS Cost Using Blue Origin's Engines
Aerojet Rocketdyne Seeks More U.S. Air Force Funding for AR1 Rocket Engine
SpaceX BFR vs. ULA Vulcan Showdown in the 2020s
Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads


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  • (Score: 2) by Some call me Tim on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:09AM (3 children)

    by Some call me Tim (5819) on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:09AM (#741683)

    ULA finally did something smart. LNG is so much easier to handle than liquid hydrogen, much safer for the techs. We had straw brooms to search for burning hydrogen during offloads in case the IR sensors went offline. It is kind of neat to see the atmosphere liquefying and dripping into a catch pan around the ground connections though.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by takyon on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:15AM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:15AM (#741687) Journal

    This should also silence the ignorant ones who think that Blue Origin is not a serious company since it is just doing some suborbital flights.

    New Glenn is on the way, and they should be able to get some contracts with it even if SpaceX has the better offer (NASA and Air Force want multiple launch providers, e.g. SpaceX and Boeing for crewed flights to the ISS).

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    • (Score: 2) by Some call me Tim on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:45AM

      by Some call me Tim (5819) on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:45AM (#741701)

      Yep, once they start selling rides they'll make some real money, not that Bezos doesn't have megatons of the stuff already. Boeing has problems with way too much management IMHO, and their crew capsule will suffer for it. I'd ride the SpaceX capsule first if given a choice.

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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:21AM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Saturday September 29 2018, @04:21AM (#741695) Homepage Journal

    Someone showed this to me at Caltech:

    Fill a soda can most of the way with liquid nitrogen. You will find that liquid oxygen condenses on the top.

    Now soak up some of that O2 with a piece of toilet paper. Light it on fire.

    It burns just like the head of a match.

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