Blue Origin has shared footage of a successful test of its next-generation BE-4 rocket engine.
The video shows the rocket pumping out up to 550,000 pounds of thrust, and Blue Origin engineers are also seen praising the effort.
Louder rumbles in Rocket City! Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company said in a social media post on Thursday. “We recently completed our first BE-4 engine fire test at historic Test Stand 4670 in Huntsville. We also continue to test the BE-4 engine at our facility in Texas. The BE-4 engine produces 550,000 pounds of thrust and is our most powerful engine.”
Louder rumbles in Rocket City! We recently completed our first BE-4 engine fire test at historic Test Stand 4670 in Huntsville. We also continue to test the BE-4 engine at our facility in Texas. The BE-4 engine produces 550,000 pounds of thrust and is our most powerful engine. pic.twitter.com/iyLb3p67PE
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) February 2, 2024
This ground test is a welcome achievement for Blue Origin and comes just weeks after the engine made its first successful flight, powering United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket on its maiden flight on Peregrine Mission 1 for Astrobotic Technology.
The recent fire incident provides more confirmation of the BE-4’s reliability following a setback last June when testing of a similar BE-4 at a Blue Origin facility in West Texas unexpectedly ended with an explosion.
The BE-4 engine is key to Blue Origin’s spaceflight ambitions. In addition to being built for ULA, the booster will also power Blue Origin’s reusable New Glenn rocket, which is currently under development.
ULA’s Vulcan Centaur vehicle uses two BE-4 engines in the first stage, while the New Glenn rocket will fly with seven such engines.
Specifically, the Vulcan Centaur and New Glenn rockets will be used for 38 Vulcan launches and as many as 27 New Glenn launches in the mission to deploy Amazon’s Project Kuiper internet satellite in the coming years in a similar initiative to SpaceX’s Starlink service.
Blue Origin has also been selected by NASA to use New Glenn to fly its Blue Moon lander to the moon in a possible Artemis mission before the end of the decade.
To date, most Blue Origin flights have used single-stage New Shepard suborbital rockets. The New Glenn and BE-4 engines took his space ambitions to a whole new level.