Bezos-backed Blue Origin engine failure

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Billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is developing the Blue Origin rocket system to send satellites into orbit (and potentially humans looking for space tourism) but on May 14th it suffered a set-back when one of its BE-4 engines failed during a routine ground-based test firing.

The Blue Origin team sent out a Tweet that the rocket had lost a “powerpack” which is the device which pushes propellant through the engine.

Blue Origin rightly said that such developments were not unusual in pre-production development.  Bezos has reportedly sold some of his Amazon.com shares in order to invest $1 billion into the Blue Origin project. Over a 3-day period (May 2nd – 4th) he sold shares worth $940 million. He still owns some 17 percent of Amazon.

Eutelsat has already ordered a New Glenn variant rocket launch for one of its satellites in 2021-2022, and Jersey-based satellite broadband constellation OneWeb has ordered up 5 initial launches for its fleet of 900 spacecraft.

Bezos is looking to have the engines and the Blue Origin rocket ready for certification by 2019.


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