Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin successfully fires up the most powerful US rocket in decades - and it could take astronauts back to the moon

Mail Online | 10/20/2017 | Tim Collins For Mailonline
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has moved a step closer to his dream of space exploration, with the first hot-fire test of a new rocket.

Blue Origin fired up the BE-4 engine for a thirty second test at half power, a significant step toward using it to launch a ship into the cosmos.

Rocket - Engine - Decades

It is expected to be the most powerful American-built rocket engine in decades.

The rocket puts the billionaire within reach of realising his ambition of creating a rocket that will carry astronauts back to the moon, perhaps as early as the 2020s.

Blue - Origin - Test - Wednesday - Company

Blue Origin undertook the test on Wednesday at the company's facility in West Texas.

It puts pay to concerns within the industry that such a relatively young company, founded by Bezos in 2000, would struggle to develop and operate a reliable aerospace infrastructure.

May - Engine - Powerpack - Test - Stand

This seemed to be confirmed when in May, an engine powerpack exploded on its test stand at the Texas base.

The successful test suggests that Blue Origin is back on track, and has moved forward in developing a new full engine.

Twitter - Company - Spokesman - Hotfire - BE-4

Writing on Twitter, a company spokesman said: 'First hotfire of our BE-4 engine is a success.'

The first flight of the reusable rocket is planned for 2021, though no official date has been set yet.

Brother - New - Shephard - Rocket - Firm

It is the big brother of the New Shephard rocket being created by the firm to provide space tourism flights.

New Glenn will be powered by seven of the BE-4 engines.

Tall - Rocket - Ton - Tonne - Payload

The 270-feet tall rocket will be able to lift a 45 ton (40 tonne) payload into low orbit or 12 tons (11.7 tonnes) into geo-stationary orbit.

The BE-4 produces up to 550,000lbs of thrust, which makes it the most powerful rocket built in the last twenty years.

SpaceX - Merlin - Engine - Raptor - Engine

SpaceX's Merlin engine can deliver 190,000lbs and their planned Raptor engine will provide 380,000lbs.

It is fuelled by liquid...
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