Jeff Bezos plans new rocket

Updated: 2016-09-14 07:14


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Jeff Bezos plans new rocket

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, unveils the new Blue Origin rocket, during a news conference at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Sept 15, 2015. [Photo/Agencies] Inc founder Jeff Bezos unveiled ambitions for space exploration beyond providing a ride for tourists by announcing that Blue Origin LLC plans to build a more powerful rocket capable of launching commercial satellites and flying people deeper into space.

Bezos said his company has been developing the reusable, vertical-landing booster for four years and expects to make its first launch by the end of the decade. It's named New Glenn after John Glenn, the former astronaut and US senator who was the first American to orbit Earth. The three-stage version of the rocket is capable of flying farther than Blue Origin's New Shepard.

The announcement reveals Bezos' ambitions go beyond expensive space tourism flights, positioning Blue Origin to launch satellites in competition with Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp and Orbital ATK Inc. It can take a year or longer to get satellites used in agriculture, weather monitoring and other industries into lower Earth orbit due to a lack of capacity, and Blue Origin is setting its sights on that market, said Joe Landon, chairman of Space Angels Network, which invests in space companies.

"There's a bottleneck to get satellites into orbit," Landon said. "It's pretty exciting to see how big and bold their plan is."

Bezo said Blue Origin's mascot is the tortoise and its motto is "Gradatim Ferociter," a Latin phrase that he translated as step by step, ferociously. Musk's SpaceX suffered a major setback 11 days ago with the explosion of its Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida, before a test launch.