Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blue Origin, ULA team up

Blue Origin is teaming up with United Launch Alliance to develop a rocket engine to replace the Russian-built RD-180, a workhorse that powers the ULA heavy-lift Atlas V rocket. Blue Origin is an often secretive space company run by founder Jeff Bezos. ULA is a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that has an impressive track record for successful satellite launches. A scale model of the liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen BE-4 engine developed by Blue Origin was unveiled at a Washington news conference on Wednesday. ULA CEO Tory Bruno said a baseline Atlas would work just as well if not better with a pair of 550,000-pound thrust BE-4 engines than with the RD-180. ULA plans to invest in the BE-4 development. The engine could be ready in four years and would cost considerably less than the RD-180. (Sources: multiple, including NBC News, Reuters, Seattle Times,, 09/17/14) Note: Another ULA rocket, the Delta IV, uses RS-68 engines tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss., where Blue Origin has tested engine components for its BE-3 engine. Previous