Bezos-backed Blue Origin engine failure
May 16, 2017
By Chris Forrester
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.