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Blue Origin is getting ready for the first launch of the New Glenn rocket.

TechnologyBlue Origin is getting ready for the first launch of the New Glenn rocket.

Blue Origin's first New Glenn heavy-lift rocket is expected to launch this year, after years of hiding in plain sight on the Space Coast. It's a large facility. Blue Origin is building boosters to support multiple launches per year in order to support a growing manifest that cuts across commercial, civil and national security in the future. New Glenn is the largest vehicle ever built at more than 300 feet tall. Bezos started Blue Origin in 2000, while Musk started SpaceX in 2002. She doesn't see Blue Origin as a short-term competitor. They have different areas of interest. Is there a launch today?

Blue Origin secured a $3.4 billion contract to develop a human landing system for NASA's Artemis V mission to send astronauts to the moon. They are not competing for the same customers in the short term. We don't know what that will look like yet because in the long term, we have SpaceX's Starship becoming operational and increasing its cadence. She said that it will be interesting to see how New Glenn and ULA's Vulcan and Starship compete in the long run. During SpaceCom, a space convention that drew more than 4,000 attendees from all 50 states, Hoffman gave a rare glimpse of the Merritt Island campus and Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, where the company has invested more than $1 billion constructing state-of-the-art facilities The various white-and-blue rectangular buildings on the Blue Origin manufacturing campus were identified by a PowerPoint slide during the Feb. 1 speech by Hoffman. There are several buildings on the campus, including a vertical tank cleaning facility, a precision cleaning facility, and a surface coating facility. He also displayed a photo taken inside a large manufacturing building where workers build New Glenn first and second stages side by side. Blue Origin has grown rapidly since the beginning of the year, and the company now employs more than 10,000 workers nationwide, while also occupying a large footprint on Merritt Island. The New Glenn target inaugural launch date is still being kept under wraps by Blue Origin officials. The launch of United Launch Alliance's next-generation Vulcan rocket drew praise from across the space industry. Blue Origin is testing its heavy lift at a Texas launch site.

He said crews finished rebuilding the launch complex last year, and extensive testing has occurred during the past year to prepare for the inaugural liftoff. The integration facility has been fully tested and we are ready to go. The water tower is one of the tallest in the world, and can be seen from the sand in Cocoa Beach.

The facility was used for Atlas-Centaur launches from 1962 to 2005 before Blue Origin leased it in 2015. After launch, New Glenn first-stage boosters will land atop ships on the ocean and head back to shore for maintenance and servicing, before rejoining the fleet. Space Florida President and CEO Rob Long said he was excited to see what Blue's future looked like here. They can turn and refurbished their launch site if they build very close to it. I think Blue Origin and SpaceX have shown that being able to make and repair boosters is worth it, to allow that pace to continue," Long said. He said that it makes sense for a company to manufacture launch vehicles as close to the site as possible.

Blue Origin is located in Kent, Washington. The first two prototype satellites were launched in October. According to Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Starlink broadband constellation had grown to 5,408 functioning satellites as of Wednesday. New Glenn will launch three of the world's largest satellite operators: Eutelsat, JSAT and Telesat. New Glenn's purpose is to drive down cost through reusability – its first stage is designed for a minimum of 25 missions. It is capable of taking 45 metric tons to low-Earth circle and 13 metric tons to geostationary transfer to meet the broadest range of customer needs. She said that they were the first to jump beyond the standard five-meter fairing because they knew their customers would want more ways to carry mass and volume to space. The performance of the BE-4 engines that powered the first stage of ULA's Vulcan was cited by Forczyk. It was cool to see the engines fly on Vulcan, it's a different vehicle than New Glenn, but still it was impressive to see it succeed. She said she hopes New Glenn will succeed when it is ready to launch. For more of Rick's stories, click here.

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