It was to pursue that vision that Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, only a few years after founding Amazon in Seattle. Tech billionaire Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, also favors this approach. Seven of them will push the first stage New Glenn rocket into the sky. The New Shepard rocket can perform a vertical takeoff and landing, but does not go as high or as fast as the New Glenn.
Space company Blue Origin now has its first paying customer for a commercial launch, with European satellite company Eutelsat in 2021 or 2022. That's where the company has a number of rocket engine test stands, and where BE-4 testing has been done up until now. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) also plans to use the BE-4 in a new rocket the company is building called the Vulcan. The name of the company is Blue Origin.
"Our goal, and we won't stop until we achieve it, is to dramatically lower launch costs", Bezos said Tuesday at the Satellite 2017 industry conference in Washington, D.C. Bezos said New Glenn would be capable of launching up to 13 metric tons (about 28,000 lbs.) into geostationary transfer orbit and 45 metric tons (about 99,000 lbs.) into low-Earth orbit.
Eutelsat is a French satellite provider that plans to send up a geostationary satellite, a satellite created to stay in orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth's equator. This lowers the price of launches, Bezos said according to Satellite Today.
The BE-4 won't just power Blue Origin rockets.
How Blue Origin's New Glenn, SpaceX's Falcon, and NASA's Saturn V rocket systems compare.
"We are very close to selecting", said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of ULA, in a February 16 presentation at the University of Texas at El Paso. Not wanting to be outdone by SpaceX's ambitious plans for getting humans to Mars and around the Moon, Bezos has revealed the rocket he claims will "end American dependence" on Russian rocket engines.
"BE4 is the primary path to replace the Atlas' Russian RD180".
In a statement Tuesday, Eutelsat said the contract with Blue Origin "reflects Eutelsat's longstanding strategy to source launch services from multiple agencies in order to secure access to space".
"We couldn't hope for a better first partner", Bezos announced as he was joined onstage by Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of the French-based satellite company.
New Glenn as a heavy-lift orbital rocket is expected to be a leviathan among all rockets in two sizes - one at 270 feet, and the other at 313 feet.