Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to Supply Engines for Vulcan Rocket

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United Launch Alliance said that Blue Origin will provide engines for the booster stage of a next-generation rocket - the Vulcan Centaur - which is on track to take to the sky in the year 2020.

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said ULA's Vulcan Centaur rocket and Blue Origin's engines will transmit a strong message around the globe about the capabilities of Alabama's aerospace manufacturing sector.

Jeff Bezos can now add Pentagon satellite launches to his resume.

ULA said the Vulcan Centaur will boost US manufacturing by adding more than 22,000 direct and indirect American jobs in 46 states supported by ULA programs.

ULA while announcing the victor of the contract for the Vulcan Rocket's engine, stated that the initial take-off was planned by the mid-way of 2020. Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO, says that it is "designed specifically for low recurring cost".

The new rocket design is nearing completion, and the booster preliminary design and critical design reviews have been completed. "We have been working closely with the U.S. Air Force, and our certification plan is in place". The BE-4 will be used to power the ULA's Vulcan rocket, which is a new heavy lift vehicle. It uses liquid natural gas and liquid oxygen as propellant and has 550,000 pounds of thrust at sea level.

The two companies originally announced the partnership in 2014, but Blue Origin's BE-4 engine was still in development, and ULA kept another engine, the AR-1, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, as a potential backup.

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The first flight is scheduled for mid-2020. Blue Origin bagging the contract also makes it a "major defeat" for Aerojet because this will leave the company out of business for developing main engines for launch vehicles.

"United Launch Alliance is the premier launch service provider for national security missions, and we're thrilled to be part of their team and that mission", Blue Origin's CEO, Bob Smith, said in a statement. The company launches U.S. military and spy-satellites into space.

ULA boasts that it supports more than 22,000 American jobs, directly or indirectly.

"ULA has chosen the best systems available to create the Vulcan Centaur", said Bruno.

The development of the BE-4 started in 2011 and was meant for more powerful launch vehicles.

There was no disclosure over the agreement and in regard to the fact that the engine compromises a large cost and part of the rocket. "We need a space-faring civilization", Bezos said in 2017.