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Sun, Feb 25, 2024

Blue Origin Debuts New Glenn

New Glenn Is Named After John Glenn, The First American To Orbit Earth

Blue Origin's New Glenn vehicle was successfully rolled out and upended for the first time, this week, on the pad at Launch Complex 36 (LC-36). This milestone represents the first view of the advanced heavy-lift vehicle, which will support a multitude of customer missions and Blue Origin programs, including returning to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program. 

Blue Origin notes that everything on the pad is real New Glenn hardware. The upending is one in a series of major manufacturing and integrated test milestones in preparation for New Glenn’s first launch later this year. The test campaign enables their teams to practice, validate, and increase proficiency in vehicle integration, transport, ground support, and launch operations. These tests do not require engines, which are hotfiring at the 4670 Test Stand in Huntsville and Launch Site One in West Texas. 

The journey to the pad began in December when New Glenn’s first-stage modules were transported from the factory to the Integration Facility nine miles away. The tests will conclude in the coming weeks following several demonstrations of cryogenic fluid loading, pressure control, and the vehicle’s venting systems. Blue origin's launch pad and ground systems are complete and will be activated for the first time during the test campaign. 

New Glenn is named after John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. The rocket stands more than 320 feet high—roughly the height of a 30-story building—and features a seven-meter payload fairing, enabling twice the volume of standard five-meter class commercial launch systems. The fairing is large enough to hold three school buses. Its reusable first stage aims for a minimum of 25 missions and will land on a sea-based platform located roughly 620 miles downrange. Reusability is integral to radically reducing cost-per-launch. 

The vehicle is powered by seven of Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines, reportedly the most powerful liquid oxygen (LOX)/liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine developed since Saturn V’s F1 engines. LNG is touted as being cleaner-burning and higher-performing than kerosene-based fuels. 

Blue Origin has several New Glenn vehicles in production and a full customer manifest. Customers include NASA, Project Kuiper, Telesat, and Eutelsat, among others. Blue Origin is certifying New Glenn with the US Space Force for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) program to meet emerging national security objectives. 

FMI: www.blueorigin.com

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