Blue Origin has provided a rare look inside their factory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) showing hardware for its new orbital rocket.
The image shared on Instagram shows rocket stage and interstage components and propellant tank domes for the New Glenn rocket on the factory floor in Florida. The post provided no details, so it is not known if the image shows test articles or potential flight hardware.
New Glenn has been in development for years and, after numerous delays, may fly for the first time next year. The rare glimpse at rocket hardware suggests Blue Origin is confident about the progress it is making towards a test launch.
The two-stage rocket will be 322 feet tall (98 meters) long and able to lift 14 tons (13 metric tons) to geostationary transfer orbit, and 50 tons (45 metric tons) to low Earth orbit.
The first stage will be powered by seven BE-4 engines. Blue Origin is also building BE-4s for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan launch vehicle.
New Glenn will have a reusable first stage and is seen as a potential alternative and competitor to SpaceX’s industry-dominating Falcon 9 rocket.
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Blue Origin has a long-term lease for Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida for New Glenn launches, close to the production factory.
NASA has signed up New Glenn to its fleet of commercial launchers and the rocket could be used for crewed lunar missions. Blue Origin will build a second moon lander for NASA’s Artemis astronauts, adding another option alongside SpaceX’s Starship which was selected in 2021.