Jeff Bezos plans new rocket
Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos unveiled ambitions for space exploration beyond providing a ride for tourists by announcing that Blue Origin LLC plans to build a more powerful rocket capable of launching commercial satellites and flying people deeper into space.
Bezos said his company has been developing the reusable, vertical-landing booster for four years and expects to make its first launch by the end of the decade. It’s named New Glenn after John Glenn, the former astronaut and US senator and the first American to orbit Earth. The three-stage version of the rocket can fly farther than Blue Origin’s New Shepard.
The announcement reveals Bezos’ ambitions go beyond expensive space tourism flights, positioning Blue Origin to launch satellites in competition with Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp and Orbital ATK Inc. It can take a year or longer to get satellites used in agriculture, weather monitoring and other industries into lower Earth orbit due to a lack of capacity, and Blue Origin is setting its sights on that market, said Joe Landon, chairman of Space Angels Network, which invests in space companies.
“There’s a bottleneck to get satellites into orbit,” Landon said. “It’s pretty exciting to see how big and bold their plan is.”