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Oct 01 2014

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More on Blue Origin and ULA’s teaming for replacing the RD-180

Lots and lots of good info in this article.

Highlights/quotes I found interesting:

The companies issued statements to try to dispel the perceived purpose of the Blue Origin BE-4 engine: “The BE-4 is not a direct replacement for the RD-180 that powers ULA’s Atlas V rocket, however two BE-4s are expected to provide the engine thrust for the next generation ULA vehicles.

The Moscow Times entered the fray and trained its sights at Blue Origin’s founder with the blaring headline: “Jeff Bezos Strikes Down Russian Space Rocket Engine Maker.” The article stated that ULA was Energomash’s most important customer and noted that the RD-180 is built for no other launch vehicle but the Atlas V; in particular, it is not used on any Russian launch vehicles.

Elon Musk responded to the news of the ULA and Blue Origin partnership with relish. “Competitors ganging up against you is the sincerest form of flattery,” he told Bloomberg News.

The most powerful rocket engine Blue Origin has built and tested to date is the BE-3. This LOX and liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine has performed over 160 starts with a combined engine operation of more than 10,000 seconds. It has a thrust of 444,000–489,000 newtons (100,000–110,000 pounds-force). The engine has completed a suborbital mission duty cycle in support of Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule. The engine ran at full thrust for 145 seconds, then shut down for 4.5 minutes to simulate a coast sequence. This was followed by the engine’s restart and throttling the engine to 25 percent of rated thrust to mimic a reentry profile for the reusable suborbital booster, while the capsule lands via parachutes. Bezos stated in the press conference the BE-3 would undergo its first flight test soon.

As the man says, “Read the whole thing.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/10/01/more-on-blue-origin-and-ulas-teaming-for-replacing-the-rd-180/

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