In the summer of 2016, when Bob Smith had just become CEO of Blue Origin, he received a text from the New Glenn rocket project. In this article, the rocket launch date of 1398 was set; But Smith, with experience gained from his previous job at Honeywell Aerospace, said he opposed the date, saying the project would continue for at least another two years.
Blue Origin co-founder Jeff Bezos has said he does not agree with any changes to the New Glenn launch date, and that the company has goals that need to be looked at positively and achieved.
Blue Origin did not achieve his goals. Not only was the New Glen rocket not launched in 2009, but it was postponed until the late 1400s. The company did not blame itself for the incident and said the main reason for the delay was the US Department of Defense.
If the project is successful, it could revolutionize heavy rockets that have access to near-Earth orbit, fixed Earth orbit, and even the moon. But what exactly happened to this project and who delayed the launch?
A crucial decision
Bezos has long planned to build recyclable rocket launchers into its space program. The first step in doing so was initial experiments with New Shepard rockets, which are much smaller than rockets like the New Glen. Over the past five years, the company’s engineers have successfully returned a number of New Shepard rockets to submarine missions.
But years before the first experiment with the New Shepherd, Bezos planned his next rocket. At a meeting in December 2010, Bezos spoke to NASA about an orbital rocket that could compete with the Falcon 9 SpaceX.
At that time, the rocket that Bezos was talking about was much smaller than the rocket that is being designed now. In the previous design, the New Glen had only three engines and was comparable in height to the Falcon 9 and Delta 4. But in the new design, the rocket runs on seven BE-4 engines and is about the same height as NASA’s Saturn 5 rocket.
This project was a big step for a company like Blue Origin, which has never put anything in orbit. But instead of thinking of a rocket between the current New Shepard and the current New Glenn, Bezos went straight to his 95-meter giant.
Instead of making steady progress, Bezos asked Blue Origin engineers to work directly on the launch pad. New Glen is an expensive rocket, so engineers have to recover it from the beginning.
The technical challenges of building such a large rocket as the New Glen are huge in themselves, and the company’s engineers are now expected to land the New Glen on the first flight without any danger.
Going to the final stage has cost Blue Origin. Currently, the company’s engineering team is facing technical challenges. There are many lessons to be learned from a small New Shepard rocket with approximately 500,000 Nm of launch force, but now they have to deal with New Glenn with approximately 18 million Nm of launch force.
Priority in competition
The only challenge is not technical. Since the summer of 2016, when Smith was CEO of Blue Origin, a number of the company’s employees have objected to his management style, saying that Smith is doing things much more slowly than usual. But Smith believes that in order to win the competition, the company’s atmosphere must change from a mere hobby to a large aerospace company.
In line with the company’s cultural changes, Blue Origin is working on a number of other major projects alongside New Glenn. One of these projects is the New Shepherd Rocket Humanitarian Project, which is likely to take place in late spring or early summer of the new year.
Blue Origin is currently working on the BE-4 engine to be used in the New Glen. In the process of producing this engine, Blue Origin has faced big problems in the turbopump, but technicians and engineers are trying to deliver this engine to their customer, ULA, by the summer of the new year.
Blue Origin also currently manages the “national team”, which aims to build heavyweight products such as mahogany.
The construction of this moon was a competition held by NASA and its other participants were SpaceX and Dynetics, which SpaceX eventually won. NASA has a large budget for building this human landing system.
The launch of New Glen is currently delayed until the late 1400s. The first and most important program at the moment is the great technical challenge of building the New Glen, created by Bezos’ ambitious decision. Finally, Blue Origin has more important priorities than launching New Glen.