Blue Origin’s “very big brother” rocket, first mentioned during a 2015 event in Florida, has been officially announced.
Marking the first big release of new details about the rocket, Jeff Bezos stated that the rocket will have two variants- a two stage and a three stage- ready to fly by the end of this decade. “Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step,” Bezos wrote in a newsletter following the announcement.
While Bezos’ Blue Origin has not completed a single rocket launch for a paying customer, its rival SpaceX has completed about 20 successful missions and has a backlog of flights valued at several billion dollars.
Various start-ups that ventured into the world of commercial spaceflight, including Andrew Beal’s Beal Aerospace, failed to emerge as real competitors to existing and heavily funded governmental agencies with decades of experience.
While Elon Musk’s SpaseX has had rapid progress, Bezos focused on mastering the technology before becoming a part of the commercial launch market. In their attempts to master the technology, the two have had several engineering spats, and the animosity between the two companies continues to grow. SpaceX taking exception to Blue Origin’s attempts to patent the reusable rocket technology has given rise to a new dispute.
With intermittent success, Blue Origin and SpaceX provide an opportunity to explore the idea of cheaper and faster space flights. At a time when the commercial space industry is finding ways to reduce the cost of spaceflight and make it available for everyone, New Glenn rocket can spark a modern, thrilling space race.