Amazon founder Jeff Bezos Blue Origin The space agency says it has completed delivery of two BE-4 rocket engines that will be used next year for United Launch Alliance’s first next-generation launch Vulcan Centaur rocket.
Delivery to ULA’s Alabama plant is two years behind schedule ULA has selected Blue Origin as its engine supplier for the Vulcan first stage launch vehicle in 2018.
In twitterUnited Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said one of the engines was already installed on the launch vehicle and the other “will be joining it shortly.”
Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said he would be “excited to see ULA’s Vulcan fly.”
“The BE-4 is a great engine and we are proud that Team Blue has achieved this milestone as part of Team ULA.” Smith said in a press release. “It’s been a great partnership and this set of ships is the first of many to come.”
Bruno and Bezos worked together on the BE-4 engine development project since 2014but delays in development and testing have led critics to taunt Blue Origin, asking “Where’s the tory engines Jeff?” The next question is likely to be, “When will the Tory rocket launch?”
Vulcan’s first launch from Florida is currently scheduled for the first quarter of 2023. Its primary goal is to send Astrobotic Peregrine falcon on the first leg of its journey to the lunar surface for a NASA-funded mission in preparation for the Artemis program to land a crew on the moon.
There will be a launch vehicle on the way to deploy two prototype satellites for Amazon’s Kuiper Project Broadband Internet Constellation to low Earth orbit.
The BE-4 engine is intended for use not only on the first stage of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur booster, but also on Blue Origin’s orbital-class New Glenn rocket, which currently set to debut in 2023.
Each BE-4 engine provides 550,000 pounds of thrust, fueled by liquefied natural gas. The engines are manufactured at Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, Washington, and a manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama. The tests were conducted at the Blue Origin facility in West Texas and at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.