Jeff Bezos’s private company is eyeing the year 2020 to launch the New Glenn orbital mission.
The company began preparing the site for the orbital launch complex and the rocket engine test bench at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The 300-acre stretch will be built on land that previously hosted the Atlas trio. The latest version of Atlas is now flying from launch complex 41.
Blue Origin rented the launch site 36 A and B, as well as the launch complex 11 in 2015. Of the complex 36, some of the historic NASA missions were launched, including the spacecraft Pioneer, Surveyor and Mariner in the 1960s and 1970s. Sites operated from 1961-2002 year.
In principle, only the white circle and the checkpoint where the launch team was located during the return report was left from the original complexes. This was told by Scott Henderson - director of the orbital launch operations.
The new platform should serve to reuse the new Glenn orbital missiles, the integration and reconstructed equipment, as well as the test bench for BE-4 rocket engines. BE-4 (liquid oxygen and methane) will also be sold to the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which is developing the next-generation Atlas - Vulcan. ULA collaborates with Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
The new launch complex will be the second major construction company on the Cape. In May, in Kent (Washington), they booked 750,000 square feet of land near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where they are going to produce and assemble New Glenn rockets. The company plans to launch launches in 2020.
New Glenn is a continuation of the program of the New Shepard suborbital launch system (a reusable rocket and capsule designed to deliver cargo and passengers up to 62 miles above the planet). Test flights with crew members will begin this year.