ULA Selects Blue Origin’s BE-4 Rocket Motor for Next Generation Launch Vehicle

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

vulcan, be-4, ar1, eelv

Artist’s Rendition of Vulcan Lifting Off

ULA has selected Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine for the Vulcan Centaur’s booster stage. The selection follows the completion of a competitive procurement contest. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled booster will be powered by a pair of BE-4 engines, each producing 550,000 pounds of sea level thrust. ULA held a multiyear competition that pitted startup Blue Origin against industry incumbent Aerojet Rocketdyne, which proposed its AR1 engine. Once operational, the Vulcan, powered by the BE-4, will end reliance on the Russian-built RD-180 that powers the Atlas V currently used by ULA. Continue reading

Blue Origin Conducts Successful In-Flight Escape Test

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch

Blue Origin New Shepard Launch

On October 5, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket performed an in-flight test of the capsule’s full-envelope escape system, designed to quickly propel the crew capsule to safety if a problem is detected with the booster. The test flight represents the fifth launch of the booster and crew capsule.  Both the booster and capsule were successfully reused after the first four launches. Continue reading

Reusable Launch Vehicles Remain Appealing

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

RLV-TD blasting off on 5-23-2016

RLV-TD blasting off on 5-23-2016

 

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched a reusable launch vehicle demonstrator, dubbed the RLV-TD.  The RLV-TD is a delta-winged spacecraft designed to lift off vertically and land horizontally.  Its reusability reduces launch costs. Continue reading