Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket rises on launch pad ahead of debut liftoff (photo)

I seems odd to me that the first flight of this new rocket will carry a NASA payload. ("The rocket's debut effort will aim to launch NASA's two-spacecraft EscaPADE (Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers) Mars mission no earlier than August.')

Is the payload that cheap, or is there unusually high confidence that "New Glenn" will succeed on its first flight attempt?
If they continue their launcher crawl at this pace, they will catch up with Falcon 9 about the time it will be retired by SpaceX next generation Starship.

But it is for the best, the market should have some fallback options until there is real competition again.

I seems odd to me that the first flight of this new rocket will carry a NASA payload.
No odder than that SLS launched an Orion spacecraft and ten CubeSats on its first flight, all NASA payloads, or that the first H3 flight (unfortunately) tried to launch an expensive satellite.

The payload project is ambitious but on the cheap:
The company has not announced a firm schedule for the debut of New Glenn other than sometime later this year. The first New Glenn test flight will likely carry a pair of small NASA satellites bound for Mars, an agency official said in November.

This NASA mission, called ESCAPADE, is on contract with Blue Origin for a launch date in August 2024. However, this schedule is under review. New Glenn's massive lift capability is overkill for the two ESCAPADE spacecraft, each about the size of a mini-fridge, so engineers are studying the possibility of using New Glenn to send the missions directly to Mars rather than launching them into an initial orbit around Earth.

Changing the trajectory for ESCAPADE would allow for a launch date later this year. The mission must launch in 2024, with Earth and Mars in the right positions in the Solar System, or else wait until 2026.

It isn't designed to fail.
Which makes it no different from any other design project.

(Unless you count such things as the New Glenn upper stage reentry destruction as a fail, say. There are "deliver and fail" vehicles such as medical pills designed to dissolve to release payload.)

I think you may be confusing two different project tactics?

The typical design at cost so is slow perfectionist and design for mass production so is fast iterative. The latter will need heavy investment in short order but will hopefully recuperate the investment over time.

As the space industry is transiting to airplane type land-and-refuel hardware it should adopt successful airplane industry mass production. (Boeing 737 10,000+ planes produced, say.) BO doesn't.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: billslugg


Latest posts