Blue Origin Debuts the American-made BE-3 Liquid Hydrogen Rocket Engine
Dec 3, 2013
KENT, Wash. – Blue Origin reached a key milestone in the development of the liquid-fueled BE-3 engine by successfully demonstrating deep throttle, full power, long-duration and reliable restart all in a single-test sequence. The BE-3 is the first completely new liquid hydrogen-fueled engine to be developed for production in the U.S. since the RS-68 more than a decade ago.
The test demonstrated a full mission duty cycle, mimicking flight of the New Shepard vehicle by thrusting at 110,000 pounds in a 145-second boost phase, shutting down for approximately four and a half minutes to simulate coast through apogee, then restarting and throttling down to 25,000 pounds thrust to simulate controlled vertical landing. To date, the BE-3 has demonstrated more than 160 starts and 9,100 seconds of operation at Blue Origin’s test facility near Van Horn, Texas.
Designed and developed in-house by Blue Origin at the company’s research and development center outside Seattle, the BE-3 features a “tap-off” design, in which the main chamber combustion gases are used to power the engine’s turbopumps. Tap-off is particularly well-suited to human spaceflight because of its single combustion chamber and graceful shutdown mode.
“The BE-3 will gain extensive flight heritage on our New Shepard suborbital system prior to entering service on vehicles carrying humans to low-Earth orbit,” said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. “Given its high-performance, low cost, and reusability the BE-3 is well suited for boost, upper-stage and in-space applications on both government and commercial launch systems.”
Blue Origin previously conducted testing of the BE-3 thrust chamber in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, as part of a long-term vision to provide safe, affordable crew transport to low-Earth orbit.
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. Blue Origin has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space so that we humans can better continue exploring the solar system. For more information and a list of job openings, please visit us at www.blueorigin.com.
Blue Origin to Complete More Milestones for Spacecraft Development
Feb 27, 2013
NASA Web Update
NASA and Blue Origin of Kent, Wash., signed an agreement this week to extend their Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) partnership in an unfunded capacity. Between now and mid-2014, Blue Origin will continue to advance the subsystems of its biconic-shaped spacecraft, putting emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics and flight mechanics. The company also will progress the spacecraft’s guidance, navigation and control systems.
Later this year, Blue Origin will focus on test firing its liquid-oxygen and liquid-hydrogen fueled BE-3 engines, building on the full-scale thrust chamber testing accomplished during the funded portion of its CCDev2 agreement. The test fire will take place at the company’s West Texas Launch Site. In the winter, the company will outline the progress it has made toward designing, manufacturing and assembling its subscale booster propellant tank.
This CCDev2 extension will allow NASA to provide expert feedback to Blue Origin as the company works through additional milestones.
Blue Origin Conducts Successful Pad Escape Test
Oct 22, 2012
KENT, Wash. – Blue Origin conducted a successful Pad Escape test last week at its West Texas launch site, firing its pusher escape motor and launching a full-scale suborbital Crew Capsule from a launch vehicle simulator. The Crew Capsule traveled to an altitude of 2,307 feet under active thrust vector control before descending safely by parachute to a soft landing 1,630 feet downrange.
Blue Origin’s novel pusher escape system has been designed and developed to allow full-envelope crew escape in the event of an emergency on ascent for its suborbital New Shepard system. As part of an incremental development program, the results of this test will inform the design of the escape system for its orbital Space Vehicle. Traditional tractor escape systems are not compatible with reuse. Blue Origin’s pusher escape system is a key enabler of full-vehicle reusability, as well as improving the safety of human access to space.
“The first test of our suborbital Crew Capsule is a big step on the way to safe, affordable space travel,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin. “This wouldn’t have been possible without NASA’s help, and the Blue Origin team worked hard and smart to design this system, build it, and pull off this test. Lots of smiles around here today. Gradatim Ferociter!”
Blue Origin is testing the pusher escape system in partnership with NASA under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. As part of CCDev, Blue Origin earlier this year completed the System Requirements Review of its Space Vehicle, designed to provide safe, affordable transport of up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station, as well as a full-power test firing of the thrust chamber for its new 100,000 lbf BE-3 LOX/LH2 engine.
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. Blue Origin has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space through low-cost, highly reliable commercial space transportation. For more information and a list of job openings, please visit us at www.blueorigin.com.
NASA Commercial Crew Partner Blue Origin Completes Rocket Engine Thrust Chamber Test
Oct 15, 2012
NASA Release: 12-362
WASHINGTON — NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Blue Origin has successfully fired the thrust chamber assembly for its new 100,000 pound thrust BE-3 liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine. As part of Blue’s Reusable Booster System (RBS), the engines are designed to eventually launch the biconic-shaped Space Vehicle the company is developing.
The test was part of Blue Origin’s work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement with NASA during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2). CCDev2 continues to bring spacecraft and launch vehicle designs forward to develop a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability that ultimately could become available for the government and other customers.
“Blue Origin continues to be extremely innovative as it develops a crew-capable vehicle for suborbital and orbital flights,” said Ed Mango, CCP manager. “We’re thrilled the company’s engine test fire was met with success.”
The test took place early this month on the E-1 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss. Blue Origin engineers successfully completed the test by powering the thrust chamber to its full power level.
“We are very excited to have demonstrated a new class of high-performance hydrogen engines,” said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. “Access to the Stennis test facility and its talented operations team was instrumental in conducting full-power testing of this new thrust chamber.”
As part of CCDev2, Blue Origin also completed a system requirements review of its spacecraft. During the review, engineers and technical experts representing NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and the company assessed the spacecraft’s ability to meet safety and mission requirements to low-Earth orbit. That review also included results from more than 100 wind tunnel tests of the vehicle’s aerodynamic design, stability during flight and cross-range maneuverability.
All of NASA’s industry partners, including Blue Origin, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.
While NASA works with U.S. industry partners to develop commercial spaceflight capabilities, the agency also is developing the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), a crew capsule and heavy-lift rocket to provide an entirely new capability for human exploration. Designed to be flexible for launching spacecraft for crew and cargo missions, SLS and Orion will expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit and enable new missions of exploration into the solar system. For more information about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Blue Origin Completes System Requirements Review for Innovative Space Vehicle
May 31, 2012
KENT, Washington. – Blue Origin successfully completed a System Requirements Review (SRR) of its orbital Space Vehicle on May 15-16. Blue Origin is maturing the design of the Space Vehicle in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.
The Space Vehicle will carry astronauts to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station (ISS). The innovative ‘biconic’ design is oriented vertically for launch and horizontally for reentry, affording the launch simplicity of a capsule coupled with the reentry advantages of a lifting body. This gives astronauts a larger accessible landing area from any single reentry point, which means more frequent opportunities to conduct an emergency return from the ISS and land safely in the United States, while lowering G-forces the astronauts experience on reentry.
“The biconic shape improves on traditional designs, showing continued spaceflight innovation,” said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. “Successful completion of the System Requirements Review paves the way to finalize our Space Vehicle design. Coupled with our reusable orbital launch vehicle, we are helping NASA meet its needs for sending astronauts safely and reliably to the ISS, while lowering the cost of human spaceflight and increasing the number of people who can fly into space.”
The review assessed the Space Vehicle’s ability to meet safety and mission requirements, and evaluated the technical readiness of the design, the concept of operations, the feasibility of project development plans, and planned verification activities. The review also included results from recently completed wind tunnel tests of the biconic shape, validating the vehicle’s aerodynamic design, stability and cross-range. Representatives from Blue Origin, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration participated in the review, which was conducted at Blue Origin’s design and development facility in Kent, Wash.
“Through a series of technical interchange meetings and data reviews, our work with NASA has allowed us to leverage the technology development and lessons learned from more than 50 years of human spaceflight,” Meyerson said. “We look forward to continuing development of our biconic Space Vehicle for both NASA and commercial purposes.”
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. The company has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space through low-cost, highly reliable commercial space transportation. For more information and a list of job openings, please visit us at http://www.blueorigin.com.
Blue Origin’s Original Charon Flying Vehicle Goes On Display At The Museum Of Flight
May 23, 2012
KENT, Washington. – A new exhibit opens today at The Museum of Flight in Seattle that features Blue Origin’s first flying vehicle, Charon. Built as an early development project in 2005, Blue Origin has loaned the vertical take-off, vertical-landing jet-powered vehicle to the Museum. Charon will be on display in the new Charles Simonyi Space Gallery on the west side of the Museum of Flight campus, accompanied by the NASA Full-Fuselage Space Shuttle Trainer and the TMA-14 Soyuz space capsule.
“We are proud to share this piece of our company history with The Museum of Flight,” said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. “By making the original Charon vehicle available for public viewing, we hope to educate and inspire the next generation of aerospace explorers.”
Charon is a 9,500-pound test vehicle that used four, vertically mounted aircraft jet engines to demonstrate vertical-landing technologies. The vehicle was flown in early 2005 and provided valuable design, build, and operations experience to the Blue Origin team.
“Blue Origin is making incredible strides in bringing commercial space travel to fruition,” said Douglas King, president and CEO of The Museum of Flight. “Charon is an exciting addition to our extensive collection of historically significant air- and spacecraft. The fact that it comes from a company in our home town makes it even more prestigious.”
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. The company has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space through low-cost, highly reliable commercial space transportation. For more information and a list of job openings, visit http://www.blueorigin.com.
About The Museum of Flight
The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® – the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Airpark includes outdoor displays with the first jet Air Force One, a Concorde airliner, and the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The Museum aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. The Education Office offers weekend family programs, programs for students and educators, and overnight camps for children. McCormick & Schmick’s Wings Café is on site. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit museumofflight.org.
Blue Origin Tests Design of Next-Generation Spacecraft
Apr 26, 2012
KENT, Washington. – Blue Origin successfully tested the design of its next-generation Space Vehicle, completing a series of wind tunnel tests to refine the aerodynamic characteristics of the spacecraft’s unique biconic shape. The tests were carried out as part of Blue Origin’s partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. Blue Origin is designing the Space Vehicle to provide safe, affordable transport of up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.
“Our Space Vehicle’s innovative biconic shape provides greater cross-range and interior volume than traditional capsules without the weight penalty of winged spacecraft,” stated Rob Meyerson, president and program manager of Blue Origin. “This is just one of the vehicle’s many features that enhance the safety and affordability of human spaceflight, a goal we share with NASA.”
The wind tunnel tests validated Blue Origin’s analysis of the Space Vehicle’s aerodynamics during descent through the atmosphere and the ability to change its flight path, increasing the number of available landing opportunities each day and enhancing the vehicle’s emergency return capability. More than 180 tests were conducted over the past several weeks at Lockheed Martin’s High Speed Wind Tunnel Facility in Dallas.
Under CCDev, Blue Origin is maturing the design of the Space Vehicle, including its aerodynamic characteristics, culminating in a System Requirements Review in May of this year. Blue Origin will conduct tests of its pusher escape system later this year, demonstrating the ability to control the flight path of a subscale crew capsule using an innovative thrust vector control system. Also under CCDev, Blue Origin is conducting tests of the thrust chamber assembly (TCA) for the BE-3 100,000-lbf liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine, which was recently installed on the E-1 complex test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin, LLC (Blue Origin) is a private company developing vehicles and technologies to enable commercial human space transportation. Founded in 2000, the company has a long-term vision of greatly increasing the number of people that fly into space through low-cost, highly reliable commercial space transportation. For more information and a list of job openings, visit http://www.blueorigin.com.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden looks at Blue Origin’s BE-3 engine on a test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center
Apr 20, 2012
(From @NASA Twitter account) – NASA Administrator Charles Bolden (r) discusses the upcoming testing of Blue Origin’s BE-3 engine thrust chamber assembly with Steve Knowles, Blue Origin project manager, on the E-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi. The BE-3 will be used on Blue Origin’s reusable launch vehicle as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Development Program. Blue Origin is one of NASA’s partners developing innovative systems to reach low Earth orbit.
NASA Deputy Administrator Garver Tours Blue Origin; Announces Commercial Space Firm’s April Engine Testing At NASA Stennis
Dec 8, 2011
WASHINGTON — NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver is visiting Blue Origin in Kent, Wash., today. The company is one of NASA’s commercial partners opening a new chapter in human exploration by developing innovative systems to reach low Earth orbit as part of the Commercial Crew Development Program.
“Blue Origin is creating cutting edge technologies to take us to low Earth orbit,” Garver said. “Like all of our commercial partners, they’re making real progress and opening up a new job-creating segment of the economy that will allow NASA to focus on our next big challenges — missions to asteroids and Mars.”
Garver also announced Blue Origin has delivered its BE-3 engine thrust chamber assembly — the engine’s combustion chamber and nozzle — to NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, where testing will begin in April 2012. The company is developing a reusable launch vehicle, designed to take off and land vertically, and an escape system for its crewed spacecraft. Testing will take place on the center’s E-1 Test Stand.
“We’re delighted Blue Origin is taking advantage of Stennis, a center with a long record of propulsion testing from the dawn of the Space Age, to test the rocket engines of the future,” Garver said.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the depth of expertise and utilize the facilities at Stennis for our engine testing, and are glad to have the test hardware onsite and ready to go,” said Rob Meyerson, president and program manager at Blue Origin.
For more information about NASA’s partnerships for commercial space transportation, visit:http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial
For more information about Blue Origin, visit: http://www.blueorigin.com