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Private space firm Blue Origin has announced the New Glenn rocket, towering above the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.
The rocket was announced in a newsletter by Blue Origin and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post reported, adding that it would be ready to launch “by the end of the decade”.
New Glenn, named after the USA’s first astronaut John Glenn, would have 3.85 million pounds of thrust at sea level. By comparison, the Falcon Heavy is expected to have 5.5 million pounds of thrust.
The new rocket will come in two stage and three stage flavours, giving more flexibility with payloads and orbits. In fact, the three-stage model is almost as tall as the gargantuan Saturn V rockets that took astronauts to the Moon.
The Blue Origin New Glenn rocket towers over the Falcon Heavy
In a move seemingly inspired by SpaceX, the first stage of the rockets are reusable and will be capable of vertically landing.
Blue Origin is no stranger to vertically landing rockets either, as it’s managed to land its tiny New Shepherd rocket from an altitude of 100.5 kilometres in November. Of course, there’s a big difference between landing a suborbital rocket and landing a full-fledged stage.
The news comes just a few weeks after SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launchpad, two days before it was scheduled to take off. The New Glenn is also taking aim at the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was scheduled to have its first test flight before the end of the year.
Update: Corrected “3.85 million tons” to “3.85 million pounds”. Thanks to eagle-eyed reader RickVR!