Watch Blue Origin Test The Engine For Vulcan Centaur Rocket

Blue Origin has developed the fourth-generation liquid rocket engine that will power Vulcan Centaur's first journey to space.
Jessica Miley

While SpaceX seems to dominate the rocket-related news, there are other players out there. Namely, Blue Origin.

In massive news for the Jeff Bezos-owned company, Blue origin's BE-4 engine has just been selected by United Launch Alliance for use on their Vulcan Centaur rocket’s first stage. The BE-4 is Blue Origins fourth-generation liquid rocket engine, made to power rockets into orbit and even further.

The powerful engine uses oxygen-rich staged combustion of liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas to produce 550,000 lbs of thrust. Unlike other rocket fuels like kerosene, natural gas can be used to pressurize a rocket’s propellant tanks.

This ability eliminates the need for costly pressurization systems like helium. The selection of the BE-4 by ULA means the company will no longer need to use the Russian made RD-180 engine.

The Vulcan Centaur rocket is due to launch in mid-2020. “Vulcan Centaur will revolutionize spaceflight and provide affordable, reliable access to space for our current and future customers,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO.

“We are well on our way to the introduction of Vulcan Centaur – the future of U.S. rocket manufacturing. With state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing techniques, this rocket is designed specifically for low recurring cost.”