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Blue Origin develops Blue Ring

October 18, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Blue Origin, the Jeff Bezos-backed reusable rocket business, in addition to his Project Kuiper broadband scheme and its rocket tourism activity, is developing Blue Ring. It is described as a “multi-use platform for Earth orbit and beyond”.

Blue Ring will be an orbiting platform that can host, deploy and re-fuel satellites. Blue Ring is a spacecraft platform focused on providing in-space logistics and delivery, stated the Bezos company. It will be a privately-owned space station that one expert said would “leap-frog” all the other existing and planned space tugs and mission extension vehicles.

The platform provides end-to-end services that span hosting, transportation, refueling, data relay, and logistics, including an ‘in-space’ cloud computing capability. Blue Ring can host payloads of more than 3,000 kg and provides unprecedented capabilities and mission flexibility.

The multi-use platform will have access ports capable of handling various sizes of satellites, including commercial, scientific and government/military. Flexibility is built into the project and Blue Ring can be chemically-powered – for speedy travel to a destination satellite – or electric propulsion which is super-efficient but slower in travel time but can be used for straight-forward station keeping.

Blue Ring is described as “rather large” but it can fly inside of the current 5.4-m (18-ft.) fairings of National Security Space Launch-class vehicles, like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Vulcan—and it can certainly fly on Blue Origin’s New Glenn craft which has a 7-metre fairing.

Blue Ring is being designed now with a planned operational life of 5 years. Launch is said to be targeted for 2025.

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