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Another step forward for Blue Origin

  • Like IST, Blue Origins has ambitions plans for space colonisation, and they share the same general philosophy of taking things a step at a time as their motto "Gradatim Ferociter" suggests.

    If Blue Origin are successful in developing a commercial sub-orbital space tourism facility - and it looks like they will be, it will be very interesting to see how they build on that for their next steps towards orbital launch capability.

    Their BE-4 2400 KN Methane/LOX engine is still in co-development with United Launch Alliance (basically Boeing and Lockheed space contracting to US government space launch requirements), so we don't expect to see an all Blue Origin proprietary orbital launch any time soon.

    Also, as their main competitor Space-X have already stated, it is much harder to make the second stage of such vehicles reusable. Still, Blue Origin are starting with an engine which would be suitable for a reusable second stage orbital vehicle. The other problems of second stage reuse, i.e. return from orbital or near orbital velocity without high cycle fatigue and more demanding cross-range requirements are formidable, but by no means unsolvable. It just remains to be seen whether they can be done efficiently enough to be economically viable.

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