ULA, Blue Origin to develop new American rocket engine

  • 24-Sep-2014 10:26 EDT
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To support development of the BE-4 rocket engine (a model is shown), Blue Origin has built a dedicated LNG testing facility near Van Horn, TX. (ULA)

United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Blue Origin LLC, a privately funded aerospace company owned by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, have entered into an agreement to jointly fund development of the new BE-4 rocket engine by Blue Origin. The ULA/Blue Origin agreement allows for a four-year development process with full-scale testing in 2016 and first flight in 2019. The BE-4 will be available for use by ULA and Blue Origin for both companies' next-generation launch systems. The BE-4 is a liquid oxygen, liquified natural gas rocket engine that delivers 550,000 lb of thrust at sea level. Two BE-4s will power each ULA booster, providing 1,100,000-lb thrust at liftoff. ULA is investing in the engineering and development of the BE-4 to enable availability for national security, civil, human, and commercial missions.

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