Blue Origin and the BE-4

An interesting decision occurred on Sept 27, 2018, when the United Space Alliance – the Lockheed Martin – Boeing consortium that launches many US payloads into space, chose Blue Origin’s BE-4 as the main rocket for their next generation Vulcan rocket. The decision is another case where an ‘upstart’ space company, this one backed by Billionaire Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame, won out over ‘traditional’ space contractors, in this case the successor’s to Rocketdyne, the storied developer of the F-1 and J-2 engines that powered the Apollo era Saturn V. While not unexpected, the decision in favor of Blue Origin is interesting in that their BE-4 engine was considered more mature and more advanced than the other offerings. this decision is another one of the developments in the Space field in the last decade that indicate we are seeing a tectonic shift away from traditional contractors, and the traditional way of doing things, changes that promise a much faster pace of advancement and lowering of costs for Space exploration in the near future. – Kurt C