VAN HORN, Texas – The sun sets over a test stand at Blue Origin’s West Texas facility. The company used this test stand to fire its powerful new hydrogen- and oxygen-fueled American rocket engine, the BE-3, on Nov. 20. The BE-3 fired at full power for more than two minutes to simulate a launch, then paused for about four minutes, mimicking a coast through space before it re-ignited for a brief final burn. The last phase of the test covered the work the engine could perform in landing the booster back softly on Earth. Blue Origin, a partner of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, or CCP, is developing its Orbital Launch Vehicle, which could eventually be used to launch the company's Space Vehicle into orbit to transport crew and cargo to low-Earth orbit.
CCP is aiding in the innovation and development of American-led commercial capabilities for crew transportation and rescue services to and from the station and other low-Earth orbit destinations by the end of 2017. For information about CCP, visit www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew. Photo credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett