Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023
Jeff Bezos stands next to a BE-4 engine nozzle at his Blue Origin missile factory.

Jeff Bezos stands next to a BE-4 engine nozzle at his Blue Origin missile factory.

Eric Berger

For over a decade, Jeff Bezos kept his Blue Origin rocket company a secret. Engineers toiled for years on four different engines at a rocket factory near Seattle before testing those machines in a remote area of ​​West Texas. Meanwhile, the aerospace industry wondered what Bezos and his billionaires were up to.

In November, the plan became clearer when Blue Origin achieved the remarkable feat of flying its New Shepard spacecraft to 100.5 km before successfully returning to the ground near the launch site in West Texas. Blue Origin then flew the booster again.

After these successes, Bezos started to crack open Blue Origin a bit. In March, he invited Ars and a handful of other media outlets for an unprecedented tour of the rocket factory near Seattle, where he explained the company’s plans at length. He justified his philosophy of secrecy by saying he didn’t want to make unfounded claims about Blue Origin’s capabilities until they could be demonstrated.

But with the New Shepard vehicle about to make its third flight, Bezos actually announced the flight ahead of time on Twitter.

But Bezos didn’t stop there. Along with other key details he revealed about the flight, he said the company will restart the vehicle’s BE-3 engine at just 1,100 feet above the ground during the reentry. If the engine does not start at that moment, it will boom. (Don’t worry, the New Shepard is flown autonomously).

And today, Bezos has continued to tweet.

And more.

This suggests that he is confident in his vehicle’s ability to perform. We’ll all know soon enough if that confidence is warranted, as the missile just launched at 11:18 a.m. ET.

Update: The car made a successful landing. Ars will report more on this third flight from New Shepard in a report later today.

By akfire1

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