The competition heats up: The rocket engine that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company has been building is now ready for suborbital flight tests.
Blue Origin says the BE-3 is the first new hydrogen-fueled engine to be developed in the United States in more than a decade. It can be continuously throttled between 20,000 and 110,000 pounds of thrust. “Liquid hydrogen is challenging, deep throttling is challenging, and reusability is challenging,” Bezos said. “This engine has all three. The rewards are highest performance, vertical landing even with a single-engine vehicle, and low cost. And as a future upper-stage engine, hydrogen greatly increases payload capabilities.”
They hope to begin flight tests by the end of the year. Even as they develop this suborbital hydrogen engine, they are also developing an bigger engine for orbital flights in ULA’S next generation rocket that will replace the Atlas 5 and Delta.