Do you remember the 2013 film Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster? The premise centered around a falling Earth, where the rich are separated from the poor by way of a space station floating along the Earth’s orbit. The station, called Elysium, has the latest technology, medical advances, and sustainable resources. But the remaining poor on planet Earth are left to fend for themselves, scraping for their survival.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this film crossed my mind after reading up on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin’s BE-4 Rocket Engine (the engine you see in the feature image of this post). His vision for the near future is to get millions of people living and working in space. Yeah…I know. My curiosity peaked as well, especially when it comes to the potential travel prices. But before we jump too far ahead, let me share a few facts about the engine.
- Blue Origin’s BE-4 Rocket Engine is a fully funded engine that will end America’s dependence on the Russian-made engine, RD-180, and it should be ready to fly by 2019.
- It’s a 4th generation liquid rocket engine, made for both commercial and government missions.
- The BE-4 uses oxygen-rich staged combustion liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas to produce 550,000 lbs. of thrust.
- The BE-4 is fully funded, which means it’s paid for by the private sector and requires no government funding for development. And it also saves taxpayers an additional $3 billion in natural security launch costs over 20 years by providing higher thrust—1.1 million pounds versus 860,000 pounds for the RD-180.
As you can see from this video, the BE-4 Rocket had a successful test-fire and it’s set to power Blue Origin’s New Glenn Rocket, stated to lift off in 2020. New Glenn will be the rocket that fulfill’s Bezos’s vision of getting millions of people living and working in space. And according to Florida Today, “Blue Origin plans to launch 10 miles away at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 36, a 1960s-era pad that is also under construction to accommodate the rocket’s specifications.” And Blue Origin is making a capital investment of $205 million to $220 million, creating more than 330 jobs.
As much as I found this interesting, I still have some reservations about the purpose of living in space. Is this just an option for those who are curious and wealthy, or is this a subliminal message of what has to happen? Hmm.
You can stay up-to-date with Blue Origin and their products by checking out their website.
Until Next Time…
Kelly, E. (2017, December 13). Blue Origin begins moving into massive New Glenn rocket factory at KSC. Retrieved March 20, 2018, from https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/12/13/blue-origin-officially-moves-into-new-glenn-rocket-factory-ksc-florida/948899001/
(n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from https://www.blueorigin.com/