Blue Origin’s High-Powered Engine Tests Resonate Through Historic Rocketry Hub
The recent thunderous rocket tests by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company turned heads in Huntsville, Alabama – a city well-accustomed to deafening space exploration.
Locals shared surprise and nostalgia as Blue Origin broke decibel records testing new high-powered engines. The noise transported some back to the 1960s heyday when NASA shook the city testing Saturn V engines at the same historic site.
Modified by Blue Origin through a NASA collaboration, the test stand taps into Huntsville’s rich rocketry heritage. Its riverside location allows swift flooding if necessairy during volatile engine firings.
Residents chimed in on social media about the ground-shaking tests. Kent Lyman timed “about 7 and a half minutes” – the “longest I’ve ever heard!” Others like Mary Ann Porter Burns jokingly wondered whether a crashing airplane caused the home-rattling roar.
Beyond testing, Blue Origin manufactures engines locally and may soon acquire rocket builder United Launch Alliance. This possibility of expanded roots comes after recent engine setbacks some feared jeopardized Blue Origin’s ambitious space plans.
But this month’s successful, long-duration test of the BE-4 engine should assuage doubts. Packing 550,000 pounds of thrust, it’s the company’s most powerful yet. Dramatic footage showed proud engineers applauding the engine firing.
The BE-4 will drive Blue Origin’s future New Glenn rocket and the new Vulcan Centaur rocket for United Launch Alliance, which carried the engine on a recent test flight. From launching private astronauts to a planned constellation of broadband satellites in Project Kuiper, reliable high-performance engines are key to company founder Bezos’ vision.
And through local partnerships, those deafening rocket tests ensure Blue Origin and Huntsville roar into space exploration’s future hand-in-hand.