Updated: Mar 11, 2020
2020 is shaping up to be a busy year for Blue Origin here on the Space Coast – starting with the completion of the first full scale New Glenn 7 meter fairing at the company's rocket factory in Cape Canaveral. Here’s an inside look at how the fairing is designed, and the capabilities it brings to commercial, civil and national security customers. The largest structure of the rocket is the reusable first stage tank. Tank production is well underway in the high bay.
Blue Origin recently gave us a look at the nosecone, more properly called the payload fairing, in a short video. The company says it can fit nearly 50% more payload than the next competitor. They’re trying to build one rocket and payload fairing combination that can meet the needs of all customers: commercial, civil, and national security.
The fairing itself is 22 ft in diameter.
Rocket engines get most of the glory, but without that payload fairing, rockets can’t do much. The payload fairing shelters the payload during the turmoil of launch, and needs to withstand all of the vibrations and other stresses. Once in orbit, the fairing falls away in two pieces, and the payload can be delivered.
Blue Origin also shared a video of their tank for the first stage of the New Glenn rocket, which is also well underway in the gigantic massive facility located in the Exploration Park complex.
New Glenn will feature a reusable first stage that, according to Blue Origin, will last for 25 missions. They also say that the rocket will be able to launch in 95% of weather conditions, implying that launch schedules will be reliable.
New Glenn will reach a towering height of 95 meters (313 ft) which will dwarf any other commercially available vehicle. And it will be capable of delivering 45 metric tons, almost 100,000 pounds, into Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).
Initially, Jeff Bezos said that New Glenn would be ready to launch this year, but where have we heard that before? Now, the company says that it’ll launch with its first payload in 2021.