Capitalism in space: The CEO of ULA, Tory Bruno, admitted yesterday that the first production versions of Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine, required for his company’s new Vulcan rocket, will not be delivered until until early ’22.
Bruno had previously said he expected the engines in late 2021 but on Friday he confirmed the BE-4s will not arrive until early 2022. “I was hoping to get those engines for Christmas. I had giant stockings at home waiting for them,” Bruno quipped in the CNBC interview.
“I’ll say it’s taking them a little longer to fabricate my production engines. They’re in the factory now being built at Blue Origin,” said Bruno. “The COVID epidemic has affected them and their supply chain and it’s just taking a little bit longer, but they’re doing very, very well,” he added. “There’s been no problems with them and in fact, we’re doing the final testing, or what we call certification testing. And that is just going really, really well.”
It appears that Blue Origin is dealing with the difficulties of production, not design, at this point, the same kind of issue that SpaceX recently revealed with its Raptor engine. Blue Origin needs to be able to manufacture these engines at a somewhat high pace, as both ULA’s Vulcan and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket use it. It appears that in designing it Blue Origin didn’t think about the manufacturing until very late in the game.
Bruno also said that he plans on flying Vulcan twice in ’22. We shall see.
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