Blue Origin Keeps Improving its New Glenn Launch Complex in Florida

19th Apr 2021
New Glenn Launch Complex

Blue Origin keeps improving its New Glenn Launch Complex, getting ready for the rocket debut launch in late 2022. The complex itself has a very long history dating back to the 1960s. Up until 2005 it has served as an Atlas launch site but remained unused between 2007 and 2015. The site saw a new light in 2016 when Blue Origin signed an agreement to turn the facility into the New Glenn launch complex.

Blue Origin Progress on New Glenn Launch Complex So Far

The agreement with Space Florida gave Blue Origin a chance to test its New Glenn heavy rocket and its BE-4 engine for powering the carrier’s first stage. To date, Blue Origin has merged several of the previous launch pads and is actively working on its set milestones. In particular, the company has created a production factory in the facility. This construction ended in 2020. Now, the ambitious aerospace company produces, assembles, tests, and maintains its heavyweight rocket at the renewed New Glenn launch complex.

In late 2020 when the major construction works were over, Blue Origin delivered a rocket launch mount to the facility. The platform is designed to support New Glenn before launch.

Right now, Blue Origin is building another launch pad in the facility. This pad will be used to prepare the New Glenn Pathfinder first stage. The Pathfinder is still in development, but Blue Origin hopes to proceed to tests in the next few months.

Creating a functional New Glenn launch complex is very important for Blue Origin because this carrier is the company’s first suborbital rocket. This two-stage and partially reusable heavy-lift vehicle can deliver 45,000kg to low earth orbit and 13,600kg to geostationary transfer orbit. Once New Glenn is operational, it will offer the same payload capacity as SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy.

The first BE-4 rocket stage, currently tested at the New Glenn launch complex, has 17.1MN of thrust and is designed to be reusable. The stage is equipped with six fins, two of which are used for stability and the other four for steering. The stage also has six landing legs. Blue Origin hopes to reuse its BE-4 stage up to 25 times.

The New Glenn rocket itself will be 98 metres high and 7 metres wide. Even though the vehicle is not yet operational, international companies, including OneWeb, Space Corp, and SKY Perfect JCSat, already secure the rocket for their upcoming launches. So, Blue Origin New Glenn launch complex will soon be put to good use.

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