Speaking of competition in space, Blue Origin books 6 launches for 2 customers

Illustration of reusable New Glenn lift vehicle from Blue Origin with 3.85M pounds thrust. Credit Blue Origin.

In Behind the Black’s favorite phrase, the competition heats up. Check out the news just this week for Blue Origin becoming a very serious player.

3/7 – Florida Today  Blue Origin books first New Glenn launch contract – Eutelsat Communications has booked the first launch on the New Glenn rocket from Blue Origin. First launch is expected in 2021 or 2022, which is only four or five years away.

(I’m a little slow on the uptake. I already know that, so please keep the chuckles to a minimum. So after everyone else realized the patterns, I’ll point out the names of the first two lift vehicles from Blue Origin: New Shepherd and New Glenn. Get it? I cannot even imagine the capabilities of the New Armstrong they have in the secret corner of their planning department. I suppose that will likely be their effort to cut the time for the then-routine Mars supply run down to a week.)

Blue Origin is building a factory in Florida, at the Kennedy Space Center. They are renovating for their use two of the launch complexes at Cape Canaveral.

Launch of recoverable New Shepard on June 19, 2016. Credit Blue Origin.

3/8 – Space News – Blue Origin signed OneWeb as second customer for New Glenn reusable rocketPreviously mentioned OneWeb is planning to put a large number of satellites in orbit. Their plan, according to the article is 882 sats in their first generation constellation and possibly up to 2,000 sats in the second generation network.

OneWeb just signed up for launch numbers two through six on the new New Glenn rocket. In five launches they ought to get quite a few sats in place.

Blue Origin announced design features of New Glenn lift vehicle:

  • Geostationary transfer orbit – 13 metric tons
  • Low Earth orbit – 45 metric tons

Article says the OneWeb general manager said their primary lift provider will be Soyuz, but they want an alternative provider.

Article says OneWeb has the following launches booked:

  • 21 Soyuz lift vehicles launched by Arianespace
  • Options for 5 Soyuz launches & 3 on in-development Ariane 6
  • 39 LauncherOne with Virgin Galactic
  • 5 New Glenn with Blue Origin

On 1/28/16 I tabulated the lift capacity of various vehicles based on my previous posts, which I’ll update for the announced capacity of New Glenn:

  • LM5    –   LM 7   – Ariane 5 – Falcon 9 – Falc. Hv. – New Glenn – orbit
  • 14 mT –   5.5 mT – 10 mT    – 4.8 mT    – 21 mT    –   13 mT    –   GTO
  • 25 mT – 13.5 mT – 20 mT    – 13 mT     – 53 mT    –  45 mT    –   LEO

My previous comment:  Looks to me like Long March 7 will be roughly comparable to a Falcon 9 and a Long March 5 will be slightly more powerful than an Ariane 5.

Looks like the New Glenn will be comparable to a Long March 5 for GTO and very close to a Falcon Heavy for LEO.

Successful recovery of New Shepard booster on June 19, 2016. Credit Blue Origin.

3/8 – Behind the Black – Blue Origin signs second contract for New Glenn – Hat tip for pointing me to both of the above announcements. Also, BtB points out there are no comments visible about the prices for the two new customers.

Yesterday I mentioned OneWeb’s announced plans:

  • 1,280 sats in the V band from OneWeb
  • 720 sats from OneWeb, previously announced for the V band
  • 720 sats from OneWeb, previously announced for the Ka and Ku bands

Won’t bother to sort out difference between 720 and 882 satellites in the first constellation.

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