In brief: Blue Origin on social media this week shared additional details on its New Glenn orbital launch vehicle and also provided an insider’s look at mission control. Once complete, it'll be adequate for commercial use as well as national security missions.
The aerospace company has completed work on its first full-scale New Glenn launch vehicle fairing, also known as the nose cone. With a diameter of seven meters, Blue Origin said it is the largest contiguous composite fairing ever built.
This compartment alone is large enough to house Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
All that space will give customers new opportunities to design satellites in a way they haven’t been able to before, we’re told.
Blue Origin is also working at its Cape Canaveral facility to build reusable first stage tanks. Everything to do with their construction – from building them to plumbing them and putting the domes on – happens right there in Florida under one roof. This allows Blue Origin to control the materials, the process and ultimately, the quality. It also helps to keep costs down.
At its West Texas test facility, meanwhile, the company is putting its BE-3U engines through the paces. These units are fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, putting out around 160,000 pounds of thrust.
Arguably even more impressive is mission control.
Outfitted with a sea of screens and seating for dozens, this high-tech wonder looks as equipped as any to carry out space-bound missions. It is located inside the New Glenn rocket factory and should be ready to go when the first New Glenn flight takes place in 2021.