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The New Glenn Rocket by Jeff Bezos, Finally Sighted on the launch Pad

Blue Origin is gearing up for a tanking test at Cape Canaveral, followed by a hotfire test on the launch pad.

Observers eagerly awaiting progress on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket have finally caught a glimpse of movement from the typically secretive space company. Engineers rolled out a full-scale New Glenn rocket, incorporating flight hardware, to a launch pad in Florida for ground testing.

Despite the anticipation, the first New Glenn launch is likely still at least six months away, with the possibility of further delays. The project has experienced multiple postponements over the years, pushing the inaugural flight from 2020 to 2021, then 2022, and now possibly later this year. Nonetheless, there’s a palpable sense that Blue Origin is edging closer to achieving its goal of launching a rocket into orbit.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Blue Origin, visited Cape Canaveral to witness the unveiling of his colossal new rocket on the launch pad for the first time. Expressing his excitement on Instagram, Bezos described the sight of New Glenn at LC-36 as “just incredible” and emphasized the anticipation for the upcoming endeavors, stating, “Big year ahead. Let’s go!”

In late 2024, Blue Origin officials intensified their commitment to launching the inaugural test flight of New Glenn by the year’s end. This renewed determination coincided with Dave Limp taking the helm as Blue Origin’s chief executive, succeeding Bob Smith. Smith’s leadership saw significant milestones, including the debut of human suborbital flights aboard the New Shepard rocket, yet was also marked by persistent delays in the New Glenn program.

Under Limp’s leadership, Blue Origin is embracing a culture of speed and efficiency, evident in the recent activities of its workforce. In December, elements of the New Glenn rocket were transported from the company’s factory near NASA‘s Kennedy Space Center to a final assembly hangar located approximately nine miles away at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Within that facility, technicians meticulously assembled the components of the New Glenn rocket. The first stage booster, comprised of flight-ready hardware, was carefully linked with an upper stage designated for ground testing by Blue Origin. The last component to be integrated was the 23-foot-diameter (7-meter) payload fairing, a crucial element situated at the apex of New Glenn, engineered to shield spacecraft during the initial stage of launch.

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