Spaceflight Insider

Jeff Bezos tweets latest BE-4 engine test footage

BE-4 engine hot-fire test

File photo of a BE-4 engine hot-fire test. Photo Credit: Blue Origin

Blue Origin has successfully tested its BE-4 engine at its longest duration yet revealed by the secretive spaceflight company. In a video tweeted out by the company’s founder, Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, it was announced that the engine, which is capable of 550,000 pounds (2,400 kilonewtons) of thrust, was tested at 65 percent of full-power for about 114 seconds.

Development on the BE-4 began in 2011, but it did not become public until 2014. It consumes liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen in an oxygen-rich staged combustion process. Seven will be used on the first stage of the company’s upcoming New Glenn rocket and is a contender to be used on United Launch Alliance’s upcoming Vulcan rocket.

The first fully-assembled engine was completed in March 2017 for testing. However, Blue Origin suffered a setback in May 2017 when it was reported that a test anomaly resulted in the loss of a set of powerpack hardware.

Finally, in October 2017, BE-4 was fired for the first time at the company’s West Texas facility. That resulted in a three-second test at 50 percent thrust level. Another test in January 2018 evaluated the engines deep-throttle capability.

Once testing is completed, Blue Origin intends to make production engines in Huntsville, Alabama, which will likely be integrated into the New Glenn rocket at the company’s recently-built production facility at Exploration Park near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first flights of Blue Origin’s New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan rockets are not expected until 2020 at the earliest.

BE-4 on its transport cradle

A BE-4 on a transport cradle. Photo Credit: Jeff Bezos / Blue Origin

 

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

Reader Comments

lovely, such a wonder, how billionaires get knowledgeable on things they have no clue about

Not all billionaires are the same. What you say applies to the spacex guy (and I am not nullifying his merits). However, Mr Bezos has easily the background to have study what he needs to understand very well what he is doing. Remember John Carmack.

Then you have not read about Bezos and his dreams when he was in high school

“When Jeffrey Preston Bezos graduated from Miami Palmetto Senior High in 1982, he had big plans to change the world.

The valedictorian, National Merit Scholar and Silver Knight award winner for science told the Miami Herald he wanted to “build space hotels, amusement parks, yachts and colonies for two or three million people orbiting around the earth.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article1953866.html#storylink=cpy

build a giant bong now.

I hope they start working to assemble first New Glenn. Space race needs more rockets flying!

A new patent I just read about, will allow space elevators to be built with current materials.
It has multiple tethers at its center ( for greatest strength ) and fewer tethers
as you move away from center  ( for lesser amounts of mass ).
Liftport has plans to build a Lunar elevator from current material.
Using that same material for an Earth based elevator would reach the lunar gravity center
(about 9,000 km AGL) approx. 1/6 G. Add this new concept and you could reach Earth’s surface.
We can do this now. Let’s get started. What do you think?

SpaceX has been testing full-up Raptor for some time now at the rocket ranch in Texas. The cows have gotten used to the noise…

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