Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture drops fresh hints about how its ‘busy year’ is shaping up

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture has lifted the curtain just a bit more on plans for its New Shepard suborbital spaceship and its orbital-class New Glenn rocket.

  • Today Axios quoted Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith as saying that the next uncrewed New Shepard test flight could come as early as this month, and that there’ll be “three or more flights before we go fly people.” Smith said the current plan is to fly the first people later this year, “but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
  • Also today, Blue Origin released a couple of video clips showing half of New Glenn’s 7-meter-wide (23-foot-wide) carbon composite nose cone, or fairing, on the floor of the company’s massive Florida factory. Jarrett Jones, senior vice president for the New Glenn program, said the fairing is big enough to hold an entire New Shepard spaceship.
  • Blue Origin said 2020 is shaping up to be a “busy year.” New Glenn’s BE-4 engine is due to enter production in Alabama later this year, and the rocket is scheduled to have its maiden launch in Florida next year. As for New Shepard, the first fliers are expected to be Blue Origin test subjects. The company hasn’t announced the price for suborbital space trips, other than to say the first tickets are likely to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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