Author Topic: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory  (Read 46086 times)

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« on: 01/14/2021 03:48 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1349759460202467328

Quote
As featured on today’s #NewShepard webcast, Jacki takes us on a tour of our full-rate engine production facility in Huntsville, AL powering the next generation of American space flight with our #BE4 and #BE3U engines.
« Last Edit: 01/18/2021 02:44 pm by gongora »

Offline loekf

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #1 on: 01/14/2021 03:52 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1349759460202467328

Quote
As featured on today’s #NewShepard webcast, Jacki takes us on a tour of our full-rate engine production facility in Huntsville, AL powering the next generation of American space flight with our #BE4 and #BE3U engines.

That was cool, but lots of robotic machines. I wonder about the production rate though. SpaceX has produced close to 50 Raptors and have a decent burn rate (either RUD or SNs proto's are decommissioned).

Offline bombyx

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #2 on: 01/14/2021 04:56 pm »
More pictures (from the webcast ) :

 

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #3 on: 01/14/2021 06:44 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1349759460202467328

Quote
As featured on today’s #NewShepard webcast, Jacki takes us on a tour of our full-rate engine production facility in Huntsville, AL powering the next generation of American space flight with our #BE4 and #BE3U engines.

That was cool, but lots of robotic machines. I wonder about the production rate though. SpaceX has produced close to 50 Raptors and have a decent burn rate (either RUD or SNs proto's are decommissioned).

It would have felt a lot more impressive if there had been a few more workers around.  Is it always that dead?

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #4 on: 01/14/2021 06:59 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1349759460202467328

Quote
As featured on today’s #NewShepard webcast, Jacki takes us on a tour of our full-rate engine production facility in Huntsville, AL powering the next generation of American space flight with our #BE4 and #BE3U engines.

That was cool, but lots of robotic machines. I wonder about the production rate though. SpaceX has produced close to 50 Raptors and have a decent burn rate (either RUD or SNs proto's are decommissioned).

It would have felt a lot more impressive if there had been a few more workers around.  Is it always that dead?
It could have been filmed on a weekend.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #5 on: 01/14/2021 08:55 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1349759460202467328

Quote
As featured on today’s #NewShepard webcast, Jacki takes us on a tour of our full-rate engine production facility in Huntsville, AL powering the next generation of American space flight with our #BE4 and #BE3U engines.

That was cool, but lots of robotic machines. I wonder about the production rate though. SpaceX has produced close to 50 Raptors and have a decent burn rate (either RUD or SNs proto's are decommissioned).

It would have felt a lot more impressive if there had been a few more workers around.  Is it always that dead?
Covid19

Offline GWH

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #6 on: 01/15/2021 02:25 am »
Covid19

In hardware fabrication, assembly and inspection that isn't much of an option like it is in an office environment. Except for if they just cleared out for filming for appearances sake.

What's more subtle but there is a total lack of clutter. I like a clean and organized shop but theirs is absolutely immaculate. Other than a few pallets, boxes and a home depot bucket there is few signs of humans actually working there. I could count on my hands the number of chips in that CNC mill.

Then you have all the display signs in front of the various areas. This was probably shot really early into the factory opening, or they did one extremely thorough clean up before.  Either way it's got that ghost town vibe.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2021 02:27 am by GWH »

Online gongora

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #7 on: 01/15/2021 02:56 am »
That's the factory which will do their full rate production when they get to the point of doing full rate production.  Has it even done a complete engine yet?  Weren't the initial engines being done in Washington?  I wouldn't expect it to look too lived-in yet.

Offline GWH

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #8 on: 01/15/2021 04:11 am »
Yes it's the full production facility.

Initial engines for 2021 Vulcan flight were probably built in WA.

They will need that full production awfully soon though. Coming up there's 4 Vulcan flights scheduled for 2022, then they will probably want to build at least a pair of New Glenns to hit a decent test cadence.

Up to 22 engines that all need to be built in the next year and a half, 15 if they only build 1 New Glenn.

Edit: oh geez the ribbon cutting at the empty factory was almost a year ago - February 2020. Articles like this one thought they would be up and running full steam this past summer: https://www.geekwire.com/2020/blue-origin-lays-ambitious-plan-rocket-engine-production-opens-alabama-factory/amp/
« Last Edit: 01/15/2021 05:04 am by GWH »

Offline Stan-1967

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #9 on: 01/15/2021 05:03 am »
Covid19

...

What's more subtle but there is a total lack of clutter. I like a clean and organized shop but theirs is absolutely immaculate. Other than a few pallets, boxes and a home depot bucket there is few signs of humans actually working there. I could count on my hands the number of chips in that CNC mill.

Then you have all the display signs in front of the various areas. This was probably shot really early into the factory opening, or they did one extremely thorough clean up before.  Either way it's got that ghost town vibe.

It could be that Blue Origin takes 5S very seriously.   My companies factories are immaculate like that. 

The video does give real visual hope that Blue will actually scale up build rates someday and those nice buildings will finally deliver on what so many of have hoped they would do.  It does seem like right now Blue is in a lull to get a final iteration of BE-4 qualified for Vulcan, then they will ramp up for that vehicles manifest & turn internal for NG.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #10 on: 01/15/2021 09:24 am »
Throughout that tour (twitter video & webcast) there were visible:

1 Completed BE-4 engine (on the horizontal stand in the foyer, not counting the mockups)
1 BE-4 Chamber + throat grooved inner copper liner (in laser welder)
1 BE-4 Sleeved chamber + throat (in dye penetrant inspection area)
Lots of pallets with nothing mounted to them, in a robotic pallet transport assembly (so having nobody on-site is no reason not to be machining)
Lots of VMCs and lathes powered off
Lots of VMCs and lathes with either nothing inside or an unoccupied fixture
No engines visible in any stage of assembly

This isn't just visiting at night/the weekend when everyone has gone home. If the factory was in full swing, to film what they filmed would require unmounting and removing every single engine under manufacture and assembly on that line, while leaving the pallets and jigs, so royally pissing off everyone who now needs to re-mount and re-indicate all those parts, and probably some wastage as parts sat around off of their jigs are marred or distorted from being unsupported or incorrectly supported. They would also be adding an extended period of downtime to a shop clearly set up for 24/7 lights-out operation.

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #11 on: 01/15/2021 03:10 pm »
Yes it's the full production facility.

Initial engines for 2021 Vulcan flight were probably built in WA.

They will need that full production awfully soon though. Coming up there's 4 Vulcan flights scheduled for 2022, then they will probably want to build at least a pair of New Glenns to hit a decent test cadence.

Up to 22 engines that all need to be built in the next year and a half, 15 if they only build 1 New Glenn.

Edit: oh geez the ribbon cutting at the empty factory was almost a year ago - February 2020. Articles like this one thought they would be up and running full steam this past summer: https://www.geekwire.com/2020/blue-origin-lays-ambitious-plan-rocket-engine-production-opens-alabama-factory/amp/
Probably slowed down by a combination of a pandemic and development issues with New Glenn.
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Offline Vettedrmr

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #12 on: 01/15/2021 03:16 pm »
Probably slowed down by a combination of a pandemic and development issues with New Glenn.

I fear they're having issues with BE-4, since Vulcan is the first flight.  NG issues shouldn't be a driver for BE-4 development.

Have a good one,
Mike
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Online Robotbeat

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #13 on: 01/15/2021 08:43 pm »
Probably slowed down by a combination of a pandemic and development issues with New Glenn.

I fear they're having issues with BE-4, since Vulcan is the first flight.  NG issues shouldn't be a driver for BE-4 development.

Have a good one,
Mike
Sure. I guess I was thinking of "New Glenn" as both structure and engines, but I think you're right that the main thing this building would be used for is the engines.
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Offline ncb1397

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #14 on: 01/15/2021 08:50 pm »

This isn't just visiting at night/the weekend when everyone has gone home. If the factory was in full swing, to film what they filmed would require unmounting and removing every single engine under manufacture and assembly on that line, while leaving the pallets and jigs, so royally pissing off everyone who now needs to re-mount and re-indicate all those parts, and probably some wastage as parts sat around off of their jigs are marred or distorted from being unsupported or incorrectly supported. They would also be adding an extended period of downtime to a shop clearly set up for 24/7 lights-out operation.

It is possible that every part they produce is being sent to Kent for evaluation and/or assembly. Eventually, everything would be done in house at Huntsville. That doesn't mean they are at that point.

Offline PahTo

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #15 on: 01/16/2021 05:33 am »

I am sooo disappointed with the comments here.  Really, first class conspiracy stuff, and from some long-time members I used to respect,  I know, the whole Florida operation--all those big bldgs and stuff--and that Alabama plant--all paper mache.

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #16 on: 01/16/2021 05:45 am »
If someone sounding authoritative had said the pathfinder engines already delivered to ULA came from Kent I'd believe that based on the video. The video gives the impression the site is intended for eventual mass production (i.e. a continuously running assembly line) but that when they filmed they had completed only initial production (i.e. a number of parts were run through the line and then they paused for qualification, assembly, etc. of the parts produced.) I imagine another room somewhere they didn't show us, filled with half-assembled engines where parts were being swapped around to assure that no matter which tool had produced the part it would fit together with other parts and function properly — and other similar hijinks — to build confidence in the production tooling.
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Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #17 on: 01/16/2021 09:10 am »

I am sooo disappointed with the comments here.  Really, first class conspiracy stuff, and from some long-time members I used to respect,  I know, the whole Florida operation--all those big bldgs and stuff--and that Alabama plant--all paper mache.

Some of us have spent decades wandering through manufacturing facilities including clean rooms. I’ve simply never seen anything so tidy and empty at any operational lifecycle stage.  I agree this was probably weekend (nobody in reception) but to all appearances the parts of the facility we saw looked to be barely used.

This isn’t a conspiracy, just (over)analysis of the tiny scraps of data we get from Blue.

It’s also an unintended consequence of closing the (admittedly awful) ‘whose approach is better’ thread. We fact starved Blue watchers have to talk about something.

Offline AlexP

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #18 on: 01/16/2021 10:19 am »
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1336059161621229569

We also know they're now doing the final qualification checks before finalising the design, so presumably production only ramps up once that is done.

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #19 on: 01/16/2021 10:20 am »
Clearly they're not in fulltime production, but I wouldn't expect them to be until the first couple had been signed off by the customer.

If there had been any half-complete items in view you can bet there'd be people here estimating sizes and extrapolating performance...

From my time spent working on the software systems on car production lines I know they can be cleared down reasonably quickly if an "outsider" is coming in when you're working on a new model. And I sure as hell tidy my desk if I know there's going to be a video taken in the area.


Offline Vettedrmr

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #20 on: 01/16/2021 10:23 am »

I am sooo disappointed with the comments here.  Really, first class conspiracy stuff, and from some long-time members I used to respect,  I know, the whole Florida operation--all those big bldgs and stuff--and that Alabama plant--all paper mache.

This is one of the consequences of having minimal information flowing to the public, and what is released (e.g. this video) shows much more about being polished than it is about providing information.  So we take what we have, apply our experiences to it, and generate an opinion.  It's not a conspiracy ("Bezos has no intentions of going to space, he just wants the tax writeoff"), it's opinion ("where are the engines?").
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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #21 on: 01/16/2021 10:28 am »


OMG, look how clean this is. Obviously they haven't built many engines here....

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #22 on: 01/16/2021 11:34 am »


OMG, look how clean this is. Obviously they haven't built many engines here....

Yep, immaculate workplace with workers, tools, folders, and most importantly engines 24/7.

Let’s not blow this into a meaningless debate. It was just an observation. Nobody is claiming this is a fake facility.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #23 on: 01/16/2021 02:25 pm »
 If they were close to regular production I'd expect them to be running the facility through it's paces already. Could be they already have and just have the place in perfect condition for startup.
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Offline PM3

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #24 on: 01/16/2021 03:53 pm »
I don't get the point of this discussion. So far everything is normal. Development of big new rocket project (NG) is far behind schedule. First booked payloads (Peregrine an Dream Chaser on Vulcan) are also behind schedule. Need for any engines therefore is less than expected. Factory was built on schedule, so they have little to do there. This will ramp up when rocket production ramps up, maybe Vulcan in 2022 and NG in 2024?

Everything normal, keep calm and carry on.
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Offline woods170

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #25 on: 01/16/2021 09:01 pm »

<image removed>

OMG, look how clean this is. Obviously they haven't built many engines here....

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #26 on: 01/17/2021 12:26 am »
I don't get the point of this discussion. So far everything is normal. Development of big new rocket project (NG) is far behind schedule. First booked payloads (Peregrine an Dream Chaser on Vulcan) are also behind schedule. Need for any engines therefore is less than expected. Factory was built on schedule, so they have little to do there. This will ramp up when rocket production ramps up, maybe Vulcan in 2022 and NG in 2024?

Everything normal, keep calm and carry on.
I agree it's normal, but you'll also run into folks who say that Blue Origin secretly has a huge production capacity already spooled up and ready to go, just waiting for the signal to pull the curtain up.

The fairly sparse facility is pretty normal and what you'd expect given the sparse public information we have.
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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #27 on: 01/17/2021 02:07 am »

<image removed>

OMG, look how clean this is. Obviously they haven't built many engines here....

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« Last Edit: 01/17/2021 02:16 am by JCRM »

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #28 on: 01/17/2021 03:05 pm »
If they were close to regular production I'd expect them to be running the facility through it's paces already. Could be they already have and just have the place in perfect condition for startup.

We shouldn't judge whether a factory is ready to run by how clean it is. The production engineering department may be very good at anticipating where everything goes, and the factory manager might be someone that values a clean production floor.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

But if you don't see parts and assemblies going through the factory, or being staged for their next operation, that may be an indication that production is either going slow, or hasn't really started yet. Staffing is an indicator too, so looking at the parking lot during the week is a good indicator.
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Offline Nomadd

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #29 on: 01/17/2021 04:09 pm »
If they were close to regular production I'd expect them to be running the facility through it's paces already. Could be they already have and just have the place in perfect condition for startup.

We shouldn't judge whether a factory is ready to run by how clean it is. The production engineering department may be very good at anticipating where everything goes, and the factory manager might be someone that values a clean production floor.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

But if you don't see parts and assemblies going through the factory, or being staged for their next operation, that may be an indication that production is either going slow, or hasn't really started yet. Staffing is an indicator too, so looking at the parking lot during the week is a good indicator.
Gotta admit, I'd think there would be a thousand things you'd be doing in a new factory to wring out all the bugs. Pretty much running it and producing stuff even before final design just to look for issues. Production can affect design in addition to design affecting production.
 Not that you can really conclude anything by looking at a few photos of a sparkly clean factory floor.
« Last Edit: 01/17/2021 04:11 pm by Nomadd »
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Offline edzieba

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Re: Re: Blue Origin's BE-4 Engine
« Reply #30 on: 01/18/2021 10:15 am »
Cleanliness is a red herring. More notable is the near-total lack of product: no blurs sitting on pallets between operations, no machining centres milling out blurs, no layout tables of blurs awaiting installation, no racks of subassembly blurs, etc. If you look at SpaceX, AJR, Rocketlab, Yuzhnoye, etc, those shops are clean but full of components and engines undergoing various stages of manufacture.

Offline b0objunior

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #31 on: 01/18/2021 04:22 pm »
Are we really going to discuss a rocket engine factory from a 2 minute video until the trumpet of the apocalypse?

Offline Hog

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #32 on: 01/18/2021 08:38 pm »
Are we really going to discuss a rocket engine factory from a 2 minute video until the trumpet of the apocalypse?

 People here can talk about a fart from a Raptor for pages and pages.

Offline Lar

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #33 on: 01/18/2021 11:44 pm »
Are we really going to discuss a rocket engine factory from a 2 minute video until the trumpet of the apocalypse?
No. Just till the next snippet from Blue
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Offline markbike528cbx

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #34 on: 09/28/2021 04:30 pm »
Seriously, listening to crickets for eight ( 8 ) months?
« Last Edit: 09/28/2021 04:32 pm by markbike528cbx »

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #35 on: 09/28/2021 04:48 pm »
Seriously, listening to crickets for eight ( 8 ) months?
What is there to say? Blue isn't doing anything big there, so there isn't anything to report
Are there even any cars in the parking lot?

Online Gliderflyer

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #36 on: 09/30/2021 02:10 pm »
Seriously, listening to crickets for eight ( 8 ) months?
What is there to say? Blue isn't doing anything big there, so there isn't anything to report
Are there even any cars in the parking lot?

Yes, it looked mostly full when I drove by this morning.
I tried it at home

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #37 on: 02/13/2022 02:58 am »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?
« Last Edit: 02/13/2022 05:02 pm by gongora »

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #38 on: 02/15/2022 05:23 am »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?

This article from about two months ago has the most up to date information that I know of 4670's status:

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2021/12/21/brevard-co--commission-s-resolution-commends-blue-origin-s-reconstruction-of-launch-pad-for-new-glenn-rocket

"Refurbishment on a 1960’s era test stand is being finished up at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to be able to test the rate production of BE-4 and BE-3U engines. The team aims to have the first test performed in the first quarter of 2022."

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #39 on: 02/15/2022 07:31 am »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?

This article from about two months ago has the most up to date information that I know of 4670's status:

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2021/12/21/brevard-co--commission-s-resolution-commends-blue-origin-s-reconstruction-of-launch-pad-for-new-glenn-rocket

Thank you, yes, I saw that article as well and posted it to Reddit back in December when it came out.... sure there must be some-one this group that lives in Huntsville and is no subject to a nondisclosure agreement.... that might be able to enlighten us..? I suspect that this stand has a critical path impact on testing of the BE-4 Engine, and all up testing of the new clean first stage... As it would be capable of testing all seven engines at the same time... As it was used previously for testing the seven5 first stage....

"Refurbishment on a 1960’s era test stand is being finished up at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to be able to test the rate production of BE-4 and BE-3U engines. The team aims to have the first test performed in the first quarter of 2022."

Online Gliderflyer

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #40 on: 02/15/2022 12:26 pm »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?
I don't know if they are done or not, but I haven't heard any tests yet. Based on how loud the hot gas facility was a few weeks ago, I assume a BE-4 starting up would be very noticeable.
« Last Edit: 02/15/2022 12:28 pm by Gliderflyer »
I tried it at home

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #41 on: 02/15/2022 07:50 pm »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?
I don't know if they are done or not, but I haven't heard any tests yet. Based on how loud the hot gas facility was a few weeks ago, I assume a BE-4 starting up would be very noticeable.

Thank you, if you live in Hunstville, perhaps you could go up to the test stand and check out the status? Ask around?  Any updates would be greatly appreciated... !

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #42 on: 02/15/2022 11:06 pm »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?

This article from about two months ago has the most up to date information that I know of 4670's status:

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2021/12/21/brevard-co--commission-s-resolution-commends-blue-origin-s-reconstruction-of-launch-pad-for-new-glenn-rocket

Thank you, yes, I saw that article as well and posted it to Reddit back in December when it came out.... sure there must be some-one this group that lives in Huntsville and is no subject to a nondisclosure agreement.... that might be able to enlighten us..? I suspect that this stand has a critical path impact on testing of the BE-4 Engine, and all up testing of the new clean first stage... As it would be capable of testing all seven engines at the same time... As it was used previously for testing the seven5 first stage....

"Refurbishment on a 1960’s era test stand is being finished up at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to be able to test the rate production of BE-4 and BE-3U engines. The team aims to have the first test performed in the first quarter of 2022."

The reason we have not seen anything is largely due to the greater than expected damage to the facility from it sitting out, unused, and with no maintenance for decades. This article here explains that:

https://www.al.com/news/2020/07/blue-origins-big-job-restoring-an-apollo-test-stand-in-huntsville.html#:~:text=The%20restoration%20means%20no%20engine,tests%20will%20happen%20at%204670.&text=Test%20Stand%204670%20was%20finished%20in%201965.

"“As we performed mitigation and sandblasting work, we discovered significant corrosion in the primary structure including rust that penetrated through 3-inch steel plates” lead engineer Scott Henderson said. Corrosion was expected - the stand has been out in the weather since the 1960 - but holes in 3-inch steel were not.

“Essentially, that’s where the 400 tons of steel we’re adding (to the stand) come into play,” Henderson said. “That’s not all replacing of rusted steel, but a significant part is. Some of that structural steel is unique to project to provide the stiffness necessary to very accurately measure engine thrust.… “

The restoration means no engine testing before September 2021, but Blue Origin engine tests will happen at 4670."

Also, there is no indication that I can find that says that testing of a whole New Glenn first stage, ala the Saturn V S-IC testing in the mid-1960s will occur.The only testing will be acceptance testing of production BE-4s and BE-3Us as they come out of the Huntsville factory for use on Vulcan and New Glenn.
« Last Edit: 02/16/2022 03:29 am by Robert_the_Doll »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #43 on: 02/15/2022 11:51 pm »
Hello, I am interested in the status of the Test Stand 4670.... the last report was from mid July last year... has Blue Origin completed their remediation of the test stand, and started engine testing there?

This article from about two months ago has the most up to date information that I know of 4670's status:

https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2021/12/21/brevard-co--commission-s-resolution-commends-blue-origin-s-reconstruction-of-launch-pad-for-new-glenn-rocket

Thank you, yes, I saw that article as well and posted it to Reddit back in December when it came out.... sure there must be some-one this group that lives in Huntsville and is no subject to a nondisclosure agreement.... that might be able to enlighten us..? I suspect that this stand has a critical path impact on testing of the BE-4 Engine, and all up testing of the new clean first stage... As it would be capable of testing all seven engines at the same time... As it was used previously for testing the seven5 first stage....

"Refurbishment on a 1960’s era test stand is being finished up at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to be able to test the rate production of BE-4 and BE-3U engines. The team aims to have the first test performed in the first quarter of 2022."

The reason we have not seen anything is largely due to the greater than expected damage to the facility from it sitting out, unused, and with no maintenance for decades. This article here explains that:

https://www.al.com/news/2020/07/blue-origins-big-job-restoring-an-apollo-test-stand-in-huntsville.html#:~:text=The%20restoration%20means%20no%20engine,tests%20will%20happen%20at%204670.&text=Test%20Stand%204670%20was%20finished%20in%201965.

"“As we performed mitigation and sandblasting work, we discovered significant corrosion in the primary structure including rust that penetrated through 3-inch steel plates” lead engineer Scott Henderson said. Corrosion was expected - the stand has been out in the weather since the 1960 - but holes in 3-inch steel were not.

“Essentially, that’s where the 400 tons of steel we’re adding (to the stand) come into play,” Henderson said. “That’s not all replacing of rusted steel, but a significant part is. Some of that structural steel is unique to project to provide the stiffness necessary to very accurately measure engine thrust.… “

The restoration means no engine testing before September 2021, but Blue Origin engine tests will happen at 4670."

Also, there is no indication that I can find that says that testing of a whole New Glenn first stage, ala the Saturn V S-IC testing in the mid-1960s.The only testing will be acceptance testing of production BE-4s and BE-3Us as they come out of the Huntsville factory for use on Vulcan and New Glenn.

Thank you. Much appreciate any further updates on your observations you have going forward would be appreciated. All the best!

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #44 on: 03/10/2022 09:09 am »
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket engine company expanding in Alabama

[ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ]

edit/gongora:  Trimmed, do not post entire articles.
« Last Edit: 03/11/2022 01:20 pm by gongora »

Offline spacenut

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #45 on: 03/10/2022 12:50 pm »
Is this the BE-3U they will be testing, not the regular BE-3 they are already using on New Sheppard?

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #46 on: 03/10/2022 02:13 pm »
Is this the BE-3U they will be testing, not the regular BE-3 they are already using on New Sheppard?

Very likely yes.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #47 on: 03/10/2022 03:28 pm »
Is this the BE-3U they will be testing, not the regular BE-3 they are already using on New Sheppard?

Very likely yes.
They need high production volumes for BE3U as NG will expend a couple per mission. BE3 is very low volume as only used on reuseable NS, so likely to keep production at Kent.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk


Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #48 on: 03/11/2022 02:04 am »
The factory in Hunstville is supposed to be capable of 42 engines per year, as built before this expansion:
https://spacenews.com/blue-origin-opens-rocket-engine-factory/

That's both BE-3U and BE-4, where 300+ employees would have been required for that production level.

That was in February 2020 they said they needed over 300 employees to make 42 engines, now in March 2022 they are saying they already had over 300 in 2020 and are now adding an additional 300. Double the planned head count.

So are they increasing their production above 42 engines per year, or did they underestimate the personnel requirements as half what they actually require?

With 42 (ok 43) engines per year you can build:

- 1 fresh New Glenn annually: 7 BE-4 engines
- 8 Vulcan flights: 16 BE-4 engines
- 10 New Glenn flights: 20 BE-3U engines

That's a lot of production as is, especially so given that 1 New Glenn should be good for 25 launches, Vulcan will eventually feature SMART reuse, and maybe one day project Jarvis will result in reused BE-3Us.

Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?

Offline niwax

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #49 on: 03/11/2022 07:30 am »
The factory in Hunstville is supposed to be capable of 42 engines per year, as built before this expansion:
https://spacenews.com/blue-origin-opens-rocket-engine-factory/

That's both BE-3U and BE-4, where 300+ employees would have been required for that production level.

That was in February 2020 they said they needed over 300 employees to make 42 engines, now in March 2022 they are saying they already had over 300 in 2020 and are now adding an additional 300. Double the planned head count.

So are they increasing their production above 42 engines per year, or did they underestimate the personnel requirements as half what they actually require?

With 42 (ok 43) engines per year you can build:

- 1 fresh New Glenn annually: 7 BE-4 engines
- 8 Vulcan flights: 16 BE-4 engines
- 10 New Glenn flights: 20 BE-3U engines

That's a lot of production as is, especially so given that 1 New Glenn should be good for 25 launches, Vulcan will eventually feature SMART reuse, and maybe one day project Jarvis will result in reused BE-3Us.

Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?

Extra capacity is a bit generous. Assuming they destroy two boosters before landing successfully, that cadence puts the start of operational missions at 2027 or later. Not to mention that combined Vulcan + NG flight rate of 20 at peak would barely make a dent in the market, considering there are at least two constellations looking for launch vehicles, plus Artemis and CLD.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #50 on: 03/11/2022 05:25 pm »
Extra capacity is a bit generous. Assuming they destroy two boosters before landing successfully, that cadence puts the start of operational missions at 2027 or later. Not to mention that combined Vulcan + NG flight rate of 20 at peak would barely make a dent in the market, considering there are at least two constellations looking for launch vehicles, plus Artemis and CLD.

The cadence I wrote above is long term production needs. New Glenn development should require high production levels initially, tapering off to at the most 1 new booster per year. Vulcan on the other hand would just be ramping up its flight rate so production needs would be lower.


Expanding on that:

2022/2023 production
Vulcan on-ramp is 2 certification flights, followed by 3 USSF flights through 2022-2023. 10 Engines required.
The New Glenn test program you describe is 3 boosters, so 21 BE-4s, and 3 test flights for 6 BE3-Us.

That's 37 engines required for 2022/2023 assuming all goes well, Blue Origin would be doing extremely well to achieve that.

2024 production
For 2024 one might see New Glenn ramp up, 5 flights, and let's be generous by saying they add 3 more boosters bringing their fleet to 4. Enough booster capacity for 100 flights @ 25 uses/booster. 2024 production requirements for New Glenn = 31 engines. At this point Blue Origin could launch each booster only 3 times per year to achieve a flight rate of 12 with a service life of 8 years per booster.

That leaves 11 engines for ULA for 2024, enough for 5.5 flights.

2025 and on, refer to the estimate above.



Other factors:

- Artemis will only require a handful of commercial flights for CLPS until LETS is sorted. Should Dynetics win that then there are 5 Vulcan flights, or 10 engines required in a single year.

- Historically ULA was launching on average 12 times a year between 2011 and 2016, but since then has been 8 or less. 2011-2016 was when ULA had a monopoly on DOD launches, SpaceX didn't conduct a military launch until 2017.

- 10 launches of New Glenn is 450 tonnes of constellation to LEO assuming they pack out that cavernous 7 meter fairing.

- The production facility at Kent still exists, and should be able to supplement production capacity during the initial surge years.

- While Russia has removed its rockets from the global market, new launcher from Ariane Space, Mitsubishi, Rocket Lab, Relativity all can potentially absorb some of the market and upcoming launches.

- If ULA follows through on their reuse plans, which they would be very SMART to do, their production requirements drop off to maintenance levels of a few engines per year.

- If Blue Origin's project Jarvis is successful then the need for new BE-3Us drops off substantially.

- For whatever growth occurs in the market, its a safe assumption that SpaceX sees an equal growth. It is not unreasonable to assume that if 10 more launches are required in a year SpaceX picks up half.


I just don't see it. In the long term production requirements should drop OFF, even as flight rates increase, due to ever increasing reuse. Going strictly by head count this suggests they expect production to DOUBLE, at best I could see a 20% shortfall that is very short lived and could be made up in Kent.

But should anyone have any insight into something I'm missing please chime in.

Offline MaxTeranous

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #51 on: 03/13/2022 10:05 pm »
You’re assuming there that Blue never lose a New Glenn booster. The likelihood of booster 1 lasting a 25 full flights is vanishingly small. Heck it may not make it off the pad once (space is hard). Gotta up the numbers of engines needed for NG boosters IMO

Offline AnnK

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #52 on: 03/14/2022 12:44 am »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
Ad Astra per Aspera

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #53 on: 03/14/2022 08:55 am »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
The Vulcan Centaur and the New Glenn needs about 3 flights before commercial insurance is available for commercial flights.

However in the case of the New Glenn, the insurance could be from one of companies that
Bezos have.

Also it will surprise me if there are more than a handful of commercial flights for the Vulcan Centaur during it's service life.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #54 on: 03/14/2022 11:15 am »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
The Vulcan Centaur and the New Glenn needs about 3 flights before commercial insurance is available for commercial flights.

However in the case of the New Glenn, the insurance could be from one of companies that
Bezos have.

Also it will surprise me if there are more than a handful of commercial flights for the Vulcan Centaur during it's service life.
If BO wish, they could provide insurance for their initial commercial launches ("Your payload in orbit or your money back, plus a bonus!") rather than engaging a middleman. There is no requirement for commercial launches to take out launch insurance, it's just a really bad idea not to.

Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #55 on: 03/14/2022 03:15 pm »
You’re assuming there that Blue never lose a New Glenn booster. The likelihood of booster 1 lasting a 25 full flights is vanishingly small. Heck it may not make it off the pad once (space is hard). Gotta up the numbers of engines needed for NG boosters IMO

I just stated the maximum theoretical use of each booster.  What I also wrote is 2 boosters lost in testing as per Niwax's suggestion, and then that they would keep building a new booster every year.

As I wrote: in 2024 they have 4 boosters for only 5 flights. Then a new one built the following year and each year following. That would average out to 10 flights per booster total within that given production level. 

Say they lose additional 2 boosters in 2024, then in 2025 they add the new build and have a fleet of 3, for 10 flights. 3 Flights per booster, 3.3 month refurb, each. A total of 4 boosters lost, in 2 years, and capacity to lose another one once a year.

I guess they could plan for even more failures? IMO the production rates I wrote out support a reasonable rate of recovery failure, higher than that would be a failure of design. From what we've heard on rumours for New Glenn their build cost of a single stage is very expensive.



Another possibility is that they are simply way behind and need to make up production. If the total build time of an engine is months, and they are just beginning meaningful production now then the numbers above don't really work.  If that's the case then they need to build out capacity now that is well above what is more of an ideal sustainable level in order to play catch up.
« Last Edit: 03/14/2022 03:23 pm by GWH »

Online Zed_Noir

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #56 on: 03/15/2022 03:15 pm »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
The Vulcan Centaur and the New Glenn needs about 3 flights before commercial insurance is available for commercial flights.

However in the case of the New Glenn, the insurance could be from one of companies that
Bezos have.

Also it will surprise me if there are more than a handful of commercial flights for the Vulcan Centaur during it's service life.
If BO wish, they could provide insurance for their initial commercial launches ("Your payload in orbit or your money back, plus a bonus!") rather than engaging a middleman. There is no requirement for commercial launches to take out launch insurance, it's just a really bad idea not to.
We are in agreement. If BO provide the insurance for their initial commercial launches, it isn't really commercial insurance.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #57 on: 03/17/2022 09:11 pm »
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket engine company expanding in Alabama

[ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ]

edit/gongora:  Trimmed, do not post entire articles.

An excellent find! The local news outlets seem to be better for getting the inside scoops for what Blue Origin is doing than many of the main aerospace new organizations. This answers part of the questions I had in joining NASAspaceflight, namely what Huntsville was doing and now we know the following:

1.) The past year they've been supplying parts to Kent with BE-4 and BE-3U parts until sometime relatively recently when they started to switch over to production of their own engines.

2.) Now that they are in production, they are producing not one, but a set of BE-4s and possibly a set of BE-3Us as well.

3.) Marshall test stand 4670 is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U firing and then sometime shortly thereafter, BE-4.

Very encouraging news indeed that Blue Origin can meet its obligations to ULA and to itself.

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #58 on: 03/17/2022 11:58 pm »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
The Vulcan Centaur and the New Glenn needs about 3 flights before commercial insurance is available for commercial flights.

However in the case of the New Glenn, the insurance could be from one of companies that
Bezos have.

Also it will surprise me if there are more than a handful of commercial flights for the Vulcan Centaur during it's service life.
If BO wish, they could provide insurance for their initial commercial launches ("Your payload in orbit or your money back, plus a bonus!") rather than engaging a middleman. There is no requirement for commercial launches to take out launch insurance, it's just a really bad idea not to.
We are in agreement. If BO provide the insurance for their initial commercial launches, it isn't really commercial insurance.

Thats not how things work. Loss of satellite is more than money, its years of time, both to rebuild, and lost time you cannot run use it. Insurance or not, its a HUGE commercial deal

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #59 on: 03/18/2022 02:32 am »
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket engine company expanding in Alabama

[ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ]

edit/gongora:  Trimmed, do not post entire articles.

An excellent find! The local news outlets seem to be better for getting the inside scoops for what Blue Origin is doing than many of the main aerospace new organizations. This answers part of the questions I had in joining NASAspaceflight, namely what Huntsville was doing and now we know the following:

1.) The past year they've been supplying parts to Kent with BE-4 and BE-3U parts until sometime relatively recently when they started to switch over to production of their own engines.

2.) Now that they are in production, they are producing not one, but a set of BE-4s and possibly a set of BE-3Us as well.

3.) Marshall test stand 4670 is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U firing and then sometime shortly thereafter, BE-4.

Very encouraging news indeed that Blue Origin can meet its obligations to ULA and to itself.

Thank you concerning the article… [ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ], and your comments, and especially point 3:

"3.) Marshall test stand 4670 is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U firing and then sometime shortly thereafter, BE-4.”…


This test stand is an item I have been tracking for some time… but with respet to “….is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U…”

I am excited if they are to start using this critical resource within the next two months, but the article was more vague…
"Harris said he expects to be testing the BE-3 “in the next couple of months followed shortly by the BE-4.”…

If you do not mind me asking, where did one get the ‘two month” reference from…. insider info?

Thank you.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #60 on: 03/19/2022 03:32 am »
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket engine company expanding in Alabama

[ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ]

edit/gongora:  Trimmed, do not post entire articles.

An excellent find! The local news outlets seem to be better for getting the inside scoops for what Blue Origin is doing than many of the main aerospace new organizations. This answers part of the questions I had in joining NASAspaceflight, namely what Huntsville was doing and now we know the following:

1.) The past year they've been supplying parts to Kent with BE-4 and BE-3U parts until sometime relatively recently when they started to switch over to production of their own engines.

2.) Now that they are in production, they are producing not one, but a set of BE-4s and possibly a set of BE-3Us as well.

3.) Marshall test stand 4670 is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U firing and then sometime shortly thereafter, BE-4.

Very encouraging news indeed that Blue Origin can meet its obligations to ULA and to itself.

Thank you concerning the article… [ https://www.al.com/news/2022/03/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-rocket-engine-company-expanding-in-alabama.html ], and your comments, and especially point 3:

"3.) Marshall test stand 4670 is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U firing and then sometime shortly thereafter, BE-4.”…


This test stand is an item I have been tracking for some time… but with respet to “….is targeting the first test firing within two months time with a BE-3U…”

I am excited if they are to start using this critical resource within the next two months, but the article was more vague…
"Harris said he expects to be testing the BE-3 “in the next couple of months followed shortly by the BE-4.”…

If you do not mind me asking, where did one get the ‘two month” reference from…. insider info?

Thank you.

You are welcome. It has been good to see that there are people here actually interested in providing and learning new things about what Blue Origin is actually doing and has accomplished in terms of milestones in an objective and rational manner. So my many thanks to you.

As for your question, it is answered in the article:

"We’re getting very close,” Harris said. “They’re still doing quite a bit of retrofitting. As you learn, anytime you retrofit something that’s over 60 years old, it takes a little bit more and there’s a little bit more that you unearth that was undiscovered.”

Harris said he expects to be testing the BE-3 “in the next couple of months followed shortly by the BE-4.”

“We’re growing with our capability over at Test Stand 4670,” Harris said. “As I always tell the team, within the next couple of months, I look forward to hearing Blue Roar as you start seeing us test engines over at the historic site over there.”

Offline trimeta

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #61 on: 03/19/2022 06:11 pm »
You are welcome. It has been good to see that there are people here actually interested in providing and learning new things about what Blue Origin is actually doing and has accomplished in terms of milestones in an objective and rational manner. So my many thanks to you.

As for your question, it is answered in the article:

"We’re getting very close,” Harris said. “They’re still doing quite a bit of retrofitting. As you learn, anytime you retrofit something that’s over 60 years old, it takes a little bit more and there’s a little bit more that you unearth that was undiscovered.”

Harris said he expects to be testing the BE-3 “in the next couple of months followed shortly by the BE-4.”

“We’re growing with our capability over at Test Stand 4670,” Harris said. “As I always tell the team, within the next couple of months, I look forward to hearing Blue Roar as you start seeing us test engines over at the historic site over there.”

Per xkcd:

Offline Redclaws

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #62 on: 03/19/2022 06:17 pm »
It will be expensive to get insurance for the first commercial flight. I could let them use my 87 Firebird as a mass simulator. OK, being serious New Glenn or Vulcan has not flown a single test flight. It needs to have 3 to 5 successful test flights before being approved for commercial use and even more before being crew rated.
The Vulcan Centaur and the New Glenn needs about 3 flights before commercial insurance is available for commercial flights.

However in the case of the New Glenn, the insurance could be from one of companies that
Bezos have.

Also it will surprise me if there are more than a handful of commercial flights for the Vulcan Centaur during it's service life.
If BO wish, they could provide insurance for their initial commercial launches ("Your payload in orbit or your money back, plus a bonus!") rather than engaging a middleman. There is no requirement for commercial launches to take out launch insurance, it's just a really bad idea not to.
We are in agreement. If BO provide the insurance for their initial commercial launches, it isn't really commercial insurance.

Thats not how things work. Loss of satellite is more than money, its years of time, both to rebuild, and lost time you cannot run use it. Insurance or not, its a HUGE commercial deal

Except almost all of that has, for most companies, an equivalent $ value.  If insurance isn’t enough to cover other costs, then they didn’t insure it for enough.  That an item has to be insured for only its immediate replacement cost is a common restriction but not at all universal.

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #63 on: 04/05/2022 03:55 pm »

This is an image of the Test Stand 4670 from the 11/19/2020 at grid reference 34.630100,-86.672400 on Google Earth.

With this:
1. what is the test stand to the bottom right? This is new. Compare this to...
https://www.gettyimages.com.au/detail/video/view-of-4670-saturn-v-static-test-stand-at-nasa-stock-video-footage/170209440

It does not appear to be a test stand for an engine.. pressure testing of a rocket stage?

2. What is being built next to the crane, on the cleared area next to the two buildings with the purple roofs, as this does not appear on the Google Maps image [that appears to be taken some months before the Google Earth image]...
https://goo.gl/maps/qEDgVFADQ1DFyuoC9

[The Google Maps image appears to be from 2016.

3. What is being built in the upper left of the image? What would these be for? They do appear to be close to the rocket engine vent, and so would be subject to considerable heat and vibration...

By using the Historic Imagery View in Google Earth, some further observations and questions:
1. They appear to have built an additional smaller tank next to the two large tanks... would this be for the Methane?
2. When an engine test is running, where would if be controlled? Would it be controlled from the rectangular building at the bottom? What would the sound level there?
3. How do they cool the rocket engine exhaust vent?

PS: Here is a close up of the test stand on Google Earth on the 11/19/2020...



These are the most recent images I can find... as they are now about 18 months old.... has anyone got any more up to date images?
« Last Edit: 04/05/2022 04:14 pm by DrHeywoodFloyd »

Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #64 on: 04/05/2022 04:24 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #65 on: 04/05/2022 05:10 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.
I'll believe it when I see it. They've been talking about SMART for years, its a panacea against "what about spaceX". If ULA was actually serious on it, they still need permission from both Boeing AND Lockheed Martin to do that.

Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #66 on: 04/05/2022 05:19 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.
I'll believe it when I see it. They've been talking about SMART for years, its a panacea against "what about spaceX". If ULA was actually serious on it, they still need permission from both Boeing AND Lockheed Martin to do that.

ok.

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/1511360115752026116

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #67 on: 04/05/2022 06:24 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.
I'll believe it when I see it. They've been talking about SMART for years, its a panacea against "what about spaceX". If ULA was actually serious on it, they still need permission from both Boeing AND Lockheed Martin to do that.

ok.

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/1511360115752026116
Which is EXACTLY what ULA has said multiple times. I'd be VERY happy if they do it, but since they've talked it up so many times, its only reasonable to be skeptical

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #68 on: 04/05/2022 07:01 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.
I'll believe it when I see it. They've been talking about SMART for years, its a panacea against "what about spaceX". If ULA was actually serious on it, they still need permission from both Boeing AND Lockheed Martin to do that.

ok.

https://twitter.com/Free_Space/status/1511360115752026116
Which is EXACTLY what ULA has said multiple times. I'd be VERY happy if they do it, but since they've talked it up so many times, its only reasonable to be skeptical

But what is different now is this massive influx of potential cash to ULA that at least justifies the costs associated with the expense of developing out SMART to their parent companies. Now, the real issue for me is if the current engine section for Vulcan has baked into it the necessary spacing and such needed for SMART to be implemented. Otherwise a very major redesign and rebuilding will be needed to account for the room the decelerator, parachutes and such will require, and then there will be the modifications to the launch pad and GSE to support the increase in size.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #69 on: 05/02/2022 03:34 pm »
Why do they need this extra capacity?
Did they grossly underestimate the throughput of the factory?
Do they foresee a large increase in demand that is out of sync with current flight rates?
Or is this just a case of trying to throw money at a problem: BE-4 delays in production?


Oh ok - there's the large increase in demand.
What would be 76 more BE-4's for Vulcan although ULA has just stated that they plan to move ahead on SMART recovery.
I'll believe it when I see it. They've been talking about SMART for years, its a panacea against "what about spaceX". If ULA was actually serious on it, they still need permission from both Boeing AND Lockheed Martin to do that.

ok.

*snip tweet*

Which is EXACTLY what ULA has said multiple times. I'd be VERY happy if they do it, but since they've talked it up so many times, its only reasonable to be skeptical

But what is different now is this massive influx of potential cash to ULA that at least justifies the costs associated with the expense of developing out SMART to their parent companies. Now, the real issue for me is if the current engine section for Vulcan has baked into it the necessary spacing and such needed for SMART to be implemented. Otherwise a very major redesign and rebuilding will be needed to account for the room the decelerator, parachutes and such will require, and then there will be the modifications to the launch pad and GSE to support the increase in size.

ULA has recently said they are going to have to build a second transporter / launch platform and a new integration building. They could make the new one specifically with any design changes for SMART in mind, and continue use the existing one until the new one comes on line, then modify the old one.
« Last Edit: 05/02/2022 03:36 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline deadman1204

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #70 on: 05/02/2022 04:13 pm »
SNIP
Which is EXACTLY what ULA has said multiple times. I'd be VERY happy if they do it, but since they've talked it up so many times, its only reasonable to be skeptical

But what is different now is this massive influx of potential cash to ULA that at least justifies the costs associated with the expense of developing out SMART to their parent companies. Now, the real issue for me is if the current engine section for Vulcan has baked into it the necessary spacing and such needed for SMART to be implemented. Otherwise a very major redesign and rebuilding will be needed to account for the room the decelerator, parachutes and such will require, and then there will be the modifications to the launch pad and GSE to support the increase in size.

This is all guesses and hopes. Do I hope ULA actually goes through with SMART? Of course I do. Yet nothing has changed. SMART will still cost just as much to develop, which doesn't change the fact that ULA parents might choose to take the profit instead.

Offline GWH

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #71 on: 05/03/2022 12:58 pm »
The irony of this Amazon contract giving so many launches to ULA over Blue is it may result in ULA buying less engines, not more.

If the tipping point for SMART was this contract, then the best possible return for ULA and it's parents is to get it done ASAP.

Previously ULA has 35 launches booked, 70 engines. Now an additional 38 flights.

At only 5 uses for each engine the entire 38 launch Amazon contract would only require 8 new engine pairs,  then if they can use SMART on the last 20 originally booked flights they would only need 4 new pairs.  Add in 15 pairs for  the first 15 Vulcan flights for a total of 27 pairs- 54 engines total vs the original 70.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #72 on: 05/03/2022 07:47 pm »
The irony of this Amazon contract giving so many launches to ULA over Blue is it may result in ULA buying less engines, not more.

If the tipping point for SMART was this contract, then the best possible return for ULA and it's parents is to get it done ASAP.

Previously ULA has 35 launches booked, 70 engines. Now an additional 38 flights.

At only 5 uses for each engine the entire 38 launch Amazon contract would only require 8 new engine pairs,  then if they can use SMART on the last 20 originally booked flights they would only need 4 new pairs.  Add in 15 pairs for  the first 15 Vulcan flights for a total of 27 pairs- 54 engines total vs the original 70.

As we have seen with Rocket Lab yesterday, catching the engine module mid-air has a chance of not succeeding on the first or even second try. Alternatively, if ULA goes back to Boeing's original concept for a recoverable engine module that would splashdown into the ocean, then it makes things much easier and safer.

https://web.archive.org/web/19970118100149/https://www.boeing.com/news.release.960620.html

Offline edzieba

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #73 on: 05/04/2022 01:39 pm »
The irony of this Amazon contract giving so many launches to ULA over Blue is it may result in ULA buying less engines, not more.

If the tipping point for SMART was this contract, then the best possible return for ULA and it's parents is to get it done ASAP.

Previously ULA has 35 launches booked, 70 engines. Now an additional 38 flights.

At only 5 uses for each engine the entire 38 launch Amazon contract would only require 8 new engine pairs,  then if they can use SMART on the last 20 originally booked flights they would only need 4 new pairs.  Add in 15 pairs for  the first 15 Vulcan flights for a total of 27 pairs- 54 engines total vs the original 70.

As we have seen with Rocket Lab yesterday, catching the engine module mid-air has a chance of not succeeding on the first or even second try. Alternatively, if ULA goes back to Boeing's original concept for a recoverable engine module that would splashdown into the ocean, then it makes things much easier and safer.

https://web.archive.org/web/19970118100149/https://www.boeing.com/news.release.960620.html
As we also saw with the exact same Rocket Lab test (and every single film bucket return, of which there were several hundred over 3 decades): ditching in the ocean is a backup, but it is far more desirable not to dunk your equipment into seawater in the first place.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #74 on: 05/05/2022 07:55 pm »
The irony of this Amazon contract giving so many launches to ULA over Blue is it may result in ULA buying less engines, not more.

If the tipping point for SMART was this contract, then the best possible return for ULA and it's parents is to get it done ASAP.

Previously ULA has 35 launches booked, 70 engines. Now an additional 38 flights.

At only 5 uses for each engine the entire 38 launch Amazon contract would only require 8 new engine pairs,  then if they can use SMART on the last 20 originally booked flights they would only need 4 new pairs.  Add in 15 pairs for  the first 15 Vulcan flights for a total of 27 pairs- 54 engines total vs the original 70.

As we have seen with Rocket Lab yesterday, catching the engine module mid-air has a chance of not succeeding on the first or even second try. Alternatively, if ULA goes back to Boeing's original concept for a recoverable engine module that would splashdown into the ocean, then it makes things much easier and safer.

https://web.archive.org/web/19970118100149/https://www.boeing.com/news.release.960620.html
As we also saw with the exact same Rocket Lab test (and every single film bucket return, of which there were several hundred over 3 decades): ditching in the ocean is a backup, but it is far more desirable not to dunk your equipment into seawater in the first place.

However, the primary difference from Boeing's original EELV engine recovery method versus the Rocket Lab and the Corona program's recovery method is that landing in the ocean is that recovery by a ship is baked into the process from the beginning. Part of the testing the boilerplate module referenced in the press release I linked to was to characterize and demonstrate that the RS-25 could survive a water landing and there would be little to no water intrusion that would damage sensitive equipment.

They were highly successful at this.

SpaceX eventually came around to just letting Falcon 9 fairings fall into the water when they found out that the fairings did just fine. Granted, it was a very simple system there, but if you design for this from the get-go, this is a far less dangerous and more economical means of recovery.

Also, the size of the SMART module can be inferred from the older Boeing module since they are of a similar size for a rocket of comparable dimensions to Vulcan; + or - 20,000 lbs/9,000 kg.

« Last Edit: 06/19/2022 06:34 pm by Robert_the_Doll »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #75 on: 05/10/2022 12:57 pm »
Blue Origin’s facelift of historic NASA test stand presents challenges

https://huntsvillebusinessjournal.com/lead/2022/05/09/blue-origins-facelift-of-historic-nasa-test-stand-presents-challenges/

Longtime city residents will recognize the thundering sounds and the shaking of area structures when NASA’s historic 4670 Test Stand at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is once again ready to play a key role in the country’s space exploration.

The 300-foot tall stand, first employed in 1965 to support the Apollo program’s Saturn V rocket and later in service for the Space Shuttle and RD-180 Atlas rockets into the coming decades, has been  inactive since 1998.

But 4670 will once again roar to life when Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space rocket venture, completes a refurbishment project of the stand through a deal with NASA.

Boosters have been tested at MSFC as America gets ready to return to the Moon and beyond. But the rockets that will do the heavy lifting – BE-3U and BE-4 – have yet to be fired at 4670.

David Helderman, a Purdue University alum and aerospace engineer, is director of Alabama Test Operations for Blue Origin and leads the Test Stand 4670 Project. He said the BE-3U and BE-4 engines, which will support both Blue Origin’s New Glenn and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan space flight vehicles, are on schedule for testing later this year.

“The Saturn V was a seven-and-a-half million pounds of thrust that was tested on the test stand, so that definitely shook windows and everything a long distance away,’’ Helderman said. “Then in the eighties, the space shuttle main engines and RD-180 were an order of magnitude much more powerful.

“So that’s kind of what people often remember from the ’80s and ’90s. When we get into testing the BE-4 we’ll be at five hundred-and-fifty-thousand pounds of thrust. So it’ll be loud and people will hear it, but it won’t be near as loud as the Saturn V was back in the 60s.’’

Bob Smith, president of Blue Origin, previously promised the company would “provide for the refurbishment, restoration and modernization of this piece of American history – and bring the sounds of rocket engines firing back to Huntsville.’’

Getting the stand back into shape is no small task.

“The challenge that we’ve had is just dealing with the age of the test stand,’’ Helderman said. “Some parts of the test stand haven’t aged as well as others. We found some corroded steel and things like that that we’ve had to go into in-depth evaluation and then the repair or replacing in some cases some of those corroded steel members and things like that.

“So by and large our biggest challenge was just dealing with the age of the test stand and bringing it up to current standards and modernizing it.’’

According to Helderman, the 4670 team has embraced the history of the test stand since the start of the project.

“One of the coolest things about this whole project is the history,’’ he said. “We love that we’re building our history on history. It’s a cool, long history of America’s Space Program.

“I can tell you that the team out here, we love the history that goes with a test. And one of the big attractions for people to come work out here is being able to be a part of that history and carry on that legacy.’’

The BE-4 is the engine that engineers and explorers envision taking men, and women, to an eventual trip to the Red Planet and more.

“This is the rocket that’s going to enable our vision of millions of people living and working in space,’’ Helderman said. “That’s kind of the building block. It’s the first step of that situation that allows us to get a lot of things into space.

“It’ll allow us to build a space station like an orbital reef and will allow us to put people back on the moon. It will enable many many things beyond that fundamentally. It’s the heavy lift vehicle that’s going to allow us to put all sorts of things in space, which will open up space to generations to come and many things we haven’t even thought of yet.’’

Helderman wouldn’t hesitate to live in space, or on Mars.

“If I had the chance I would definitely go into space and I would I would live in pretty much anywhere in space as long as it was habitable,’’ he said.

>>> I think this article indicates that engine testing of the BE-3, 4 at Test Stand 4670 will start.."... later this year. "..
« Last Edit: 05/10/2022 01:01 pm by DrHeywoodFloyd »

Offline darkenfast

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #76 on: 05/10/2022 06:16 pm »
Quote from the article:

"Boosters have been tested at MSFC as America gets ready to return to the Moon and beyond. But the rockets that will do the heavy lifting – BE-3U and BE-4 – have yet to be fired at 4670."

I'll let that one speak for itself. Was that the reporter?

"David Helderman, a Purdue University alum and aerospace engineer, is director of Alabama Test Operations for Blue Origin and leads the Test Stand 4670 Project. He said the BE-3U and BE-4 engines, which will support both Blue Origin’s New Glenn and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan space flight vehicles, are on schedule for testing later this year.

“The Saturn V was a seven-and-a-half million pounds of thrust that was tested on the test stand, so that definitely shook windows and everything a long distance away,’’ Helderman said. “Then in the eighties, the space shuttle main engines and RD-180 were an order of magnitude much more powerful."

Caveat: As anybody who's ever been interviewed knows, what you say and what the reporter quotes you as saying in the article are often very different. Hopefully, that's the case here.
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Offline harrystranger

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #77 on: 10/22/2022 12:57 pm »
« Last Edit: 10/22/2022 01:03 pm by harrystranger »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #78 on: 12/09/2022 04:06 am »
Does anyone know what is happening with the reconstruction of Test Stand 4670 into BE-4 production? Everything seems to have gone quiet?

The last update was...in  Jun. 21st 2022...
https://spaceexplored.com/2022/06/21/blue-origin-be-4-engine-test-stand-photos/

.. and everything seemed promising, but since then..... nothing....

Offline Starshipdown

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #79 on: 12/09/2022 07:07 pm »
I can't speak to who my source is, but I've heard the following:

Unfortunately, other than PQE-900 doing a shakedown firing or however many is needed, there probably won't be anything until Huntsville can be allowed to assemble full engines instead of bailing out Kent by sending them the parts they manufacture so Kent can keep up with building qual engines and the next couple sets of flight engines for Vulcan. It's just as well since there are still some lingering issues related to 4670's age that need to be taken care of.

Again, please treat this as rumor/speculation.

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #80 on: 12/09/2022 08:40 pm »
I can't speak to who my source is, but I've heard the following:

Unfortunately, other than PQE-900 doing a shakedown firing or however many is needed, there probably won't be anything until Huntsville can be allowed to assemble full engines instead of bailing out Kent by sending them the parts they manufacture so Kent can keep up with building qual engines and the next couple sets of flight engines for Vulcan. It's just as well since there are still some lingering issues related to 4670's age that need to be taken care of.

Again, please treat this as rumor/speculation.

Thank you. That would make sense. Being space related the QA on these engines would be incredible [ I remember the level of testing I had to do when I was an Avionics Engineer ] , and so Blue knowledge and experience base of producing flight rated engines is still extremely thin, and they would be very careful in their knowledge and experience transfer. If that is the case, I would predict that it will be 18-24 month after a successful launch of a ULA Vulcan rocket before Huntsville can go full rate end to end production of these engines, with the Test Stand 4670 providing the full cycle engine testing... I would posit that the current production flow at Kent will be allocated to the needs of ULA...

According to this...
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2019/04/blue-historic-test-stand-engine-testing/

Test Stand 4670 will be used for BE-3U and BE-4 testing.... may check with your "source" as to whether they plan to start qualifying the test stand by testing the BE-3U engines?


Offline harrystranger

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #81 on: 02/16/2023 12:33 am »
Google Maps has updated its imagery for both the Huntsville factory and the 4670 test stand. The imagery was taken on 2022-11-17.

Engine Factory: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7344584,-86.6964562,666m/data=!3m1!1e3
4670 Test Stand: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.6298831,-86.6727476,343m/data=!3m1!1e3
« Last Edit: 02/16/2023 12:34 am by harrystranger »

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #82 on: 02/16/2023 04:46 am »
Google Maps has updated its imagery for both the Huntsville factory and the 4670 test stand. The imagery was taken on 2022-11-17.

Engine Factory: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7344584,-86.6964562,666m/data=!3m1!1e3
4670 Test Stand: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.6298831,-86.6727476,343m/data=!3m1!1e3




With respect to Google Earth, it is the same image, but:
1. There appears to be a cylindrical rocket stage/tank [New Glenn?] in the image of 17/11/2022, that is not in the image of 19/11/2022... ...




2. When testing the first stage of the Saturn Five, they loaded the first stage into the Test Stand 4670...



Could they be about to tests the first stage of the New Glenn?
« Last Edit: 02/16/2023 05:57 am by DrHeywoodFloyd »

Offline Rakietwawka2021

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #83 on: 02/16/2023 07:03 am »
I don't think it is possible to move a 7m tank from Florida to Alabama without being noticed by anyone

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #84 on: 02/16/2023 08:58 am »
I don't think it is possible to move a 7m tank from Florida to Alabama without being noticed by anyone

I do not know, and I could be absolutely wrong, but it would be fun if there is a possibility of truth.. but I will make this hypothesis on the following:
1. Like Apollo, and now Starship, they will need to do this test, because of Computer simulation will only go so far, and they will need to validate the behaviour of the seven BE-4 engines order to assure themselves that new Glenn can safely fly.
2. With two test stands in Texas they have perhaps have the testing capacity to perform acceptance testing on the engines coming out of the factory right now....
2.1 It also might explain why, despite mounting a BE-4 engine on the test stand back in about July last year, nothing came of it...
2.2 The Test Stand 4670 is designed for this test... it is what is was made for, and I posit one reason why BO have taken it over...
3. Spitballing as to how they could do it...
3.1 The ULA ship that brings their boosters to the cape, perhaps that could be used to take the NG first stage to Huntsville?
3.2 Perhaps the move to the ship could have been done at very late at night or early in the morning...

We will find out soon enough.... but it looks like that test stand is ready to start testing rockets very soon...

Offline edzieba

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #85 on: 02/16/2023 11:59 am »
Google Maps has updated its imagery for both the Huntsville factory and the 4670 test stand. The imagery was taken on 2022-11-17.

Engine Factory: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7344584,-86.6964562,666m/data=!3m1!1e3
4670 Test Stand: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.6298831,-86.6727476,343m/data=!3m1!1e3


With respect to Google Earth, it is the same image, but:
1. There appears to be a cylindrical rocket stage/tank [New Glenn?] in the image of 17/11/2022, that is not in the image of 19/11/2022... ...


Can you attach a copy of this "17/11/2022" image? The one you have posted is the 19/11/2022 image (just rotated) that is currently visible on Google Maps and in Google Earth (which only has a single image for 11/2022), neither of which appear to show anything resembling a stage.
The propellant tanks (one legacy sphere and two cylindrical tanks) on top of the stand would also preclude ever hoisting a stage onto the stand.

Offline DrHeywoodFloyd

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #86 on: 02/16/2023 05:43 pm »
Google Maps has updated its imagery for both the Huntsville factory and the 4670 test stand. The imagery was taken on 2022-11-17.

Engine Factory: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.7344584,-86.6964562,666m/data=!3m1!1e3
4670 Test Stand: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.6298831,-86.6727476,343m/data=!3m1!1e3


With respect to Google Earth, it is the same image, but:
1. There appears to be a cylindrical rocket stage/tank [New Glenn?] in the image of 17/11/2022, that is not in the image of 19/11/2022... ...


Can you attach a copy of this "17/11/2022" image? The one you have posted is the 19/11/2022 image (just rotated) that is currently visible on Google Maps and in Google Earth (which only has a single image for 11/2022), neither of which appear to show anything resembling a stage.
The propellant tanks (one legacy sphere and two cylindrical tanks) on top of the stand would also preclude ever hoisting a stage onto the stand.

Here it is, and sorry I got the date wrong... dated 19/11/2020...mea culpa...on google Earth... for some weird reason, where I am in Australia Google Maps is showing an image that is at least 4-5 old [the roofs on the building in front of the test stand are colour blue instead of the  crazy purple they are now..]...


Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #87 on: 02/16/2023 07:01 pm »
With respect, those images appear to show the installation of the propellant tanks that will feed the engines being tested there.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #88 on: 04/19/2023 07:48 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1648775272240648197

Quote
The regen nozzle room in our Huntsville engines factory.

Online catdlr

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #89 on: 05/26/2023 10:18 am »
« Last Edit: 05/26/2023 10:20 am by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Offline Torlek

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #91 on: 08/17/2023 01:54 am »
I believe they're doing full duration firings, now. I can confirm at least 250 seconds tonight.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #92 on: 08/17/2023 02:32 am »
But of what? BE-3U or BE-4?

Online Gliderflyer

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #93 on: 08/17/2023 02:34 am »
Probably 3U, if it was 4 a *lot* more people would notice.
I tried it at home

Offline Torlek

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #94 on: 08/17/2023 03:11 am »
I couldn't tell. It was putting out a lot of steam but wasn't particularly loud (mainly low frequency rumble and the hiss/flow noise of the water suppression system, the turbopump bark at shutdown was clearly audible though). However, the flame bucket is pointed in a southerly direction and I was about 2 km north of the stand.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #95 on: 08/17/2023 04:10 am »
Four minutes is about the same amount of time as the Flight Engine 2 acceptance test firing:

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1575231771913994240
« Last Edit: 08/17/2023 01:36 pm by Chris Bergin »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #96 on: 08/17/2023 11:51 am »
https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1692141606605041833

Quote
Dan Caughran, who runs the Rocket Factory in Decatur, decided to pop next door to Huntsville and check on the BE4 production ramp up at @blueorigin 's brand new, very modern, Rocket Engine Factory.  Lots of WIP! And,... do I spy a #VulcanRocket CERT2 engine in final assembly?

Offline woods170

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #97 on: 08/17/2023 01:05 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, then it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to development, test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.
« Last Edit: 08/29/2023 07:43 am by woods170 »

Online jimvela

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #98 on: 08/17/2023 01:14 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, than it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.

Or they are also building New Glenn flight, test, or qualification engines as well as the ULA engines.

Part of me wants Blue to suddenly pop out of nowhere with good flying reusable engines and launch vehicles, but the skeptic in me is extremely doubtful that they'll pull that off anytime soon.

In a way, it's great that ULA is a customer as I'll bet the behind the scenes discussion and pressures are intense and hopefully pushing blue to be able to deliver.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #99 on: 08/17/2023 02:11 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, than it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to development, test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.

Keep in mind that one of the two engines for the second flight was lost and this is its replacement, likely one of the ones intended for the third flight that is being brought forward. Also keep in mind in the engine lost was from Kent. That this one is from Huntsville is telling since it looks like there is a strong push to get away from Kent and into full proper production with Huntsville, which has much greater capacity.

In a more recent Blue Origin video, we saw an engine that was much closer to completion than that one; I had pointed out that the turbopump machinery in that one was installed installed on the gaseous oxygen dome. The one in the Tory Bruno photo does not have any.

For comparison An engine in final assembly at Huntsville behind Devin Gardner (5 months ago); close up of one with turbopumps in the Jordan Stewart video (4 weeks ago); the Dan Caughran photo (today):



Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #100 on: 08/17/2023 02:23 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, than it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to development, test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.

Keep in mind that one of the two engines for the second flight was lost and this is its replacement, likely one of the ones intended for the third flight that is being brought forward. Also keep in mind in the engine lost was from Kent. That this one is from Huntsville is telling since it looks like there is a strong push to get away from Kent and into full proper production with Huntsville, which has much greater capacity.

In a more recent Blue Origin video, we saw an engine that was much closer to completion than that one; I had pointed out that the turbopump machinery in that one was installed installed on the gaseous oxygen dome. The one in the Tory Bruno photo does not have any.

For comparison An engine in final assembly at Huntsville behind Devin Gardner (5 months ago); close up of one with turbopumps in the Jordan Stewart video (4 weeks ago); the Dan Caughran photo (today):
None of this addresses the contradiction. Why will they use an engine that has not yet be completed if they have "dozens" of completed engines to choose from? The implication is that those "dozens" will never be used.  There is nothing particularly wrong with this. It can apparently be a good way to develop engines (e.g., Raptor). But it contradicts the implication of Tory's earlier comment.

Offline woods170

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #101 on: 08/17/2023 02:51 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, than it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to development, test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.

Keep in mind that one of the two engines for the second flight was lost and this is its replacement, likely one of the ones intended for the third flight that is being brought forward.

It Tory's statement, about Blue having built dozens of BE'4s, was about flight engines, than it would have been easy to re-assign an already built "later" flight engine as the "new" second engine for CERT-2. The fact that in reality an entirely new engine needs to be built, is a clear indicator that Tory's statement was not about flight engines only. At least, not for Vulcan.
« Last Edit: 08/17/2023 02:52 pm by woods170 »

Offline Starshipdown

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #102 on: 08/17/2023 05:46 pm »
I don't recall him saying that dozens had been built, just that a dozen (12) prior engines to the Cert-2 FE-3 engine had passed ATP, and in twitter posts he said that "many others had passed ATP"

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1678881522651373568

We do know that dozens are in work as evidenced by the regen room video and photos. If he really at some point had actually said that dozens had been built, both development, qual, and flight, then that helps to put to rest that little myth that only a handful of BE-4s have ever been built.

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #103 on: 08/17/2023 08:30 pm »
If that image of the CERT-2 engine, in final assembly, was taken recently, than it means that Tory's earlier statement about Blue having built "dozens" of BE-4, applies mostly to development, test and qualification engines. Not so much flight engines.

Keep in mind that one of the two engines for the second flight was lost and this is its replacement, likely one of the ones intended for the third flight that is being brought forward. Also keep in mind in the engine lost was from Kent. That this one is from Huntsville is telling since it looks like there is a strong push to get away from Kent and into full proper production with Huntsville, which has much greater capacity.

In a more recent Blue Origin video, we saw an engine that was much closer to completion than that one; I had pointed out that the turbopump machinery in that one was installed installed on the gaseous oxygen dome. The one in the Tory Bruno photo does not have any.

For comparison An engine in final assembly at Huntsville behind Devin Gardner (5 months ago); close up of one with turbopumps in the Jordan Stewart video (4 weeks ago); the Dan Caughran photo (today):
None of this addresses the contradiction. Why will they use an engine that has not yet be completed if they have "dozens" of completed engines to choose from? The implication is that those "dozens" will never be used.  There is nothing particularly wrong with this. It can apparently be a good way to develop engines (e.g., Raptor). But it contradicts the implication of Tory's earlier comment.

Please pay attention to the images. There are three distinctly different BE-4s that were worked on sometime from up to 8 months ago. All three of them have occupied the same final assembly bay at different times within that approximate time frame. Only one of them is specifically identified as for Cert-2. The other two are a mystery. It is also a contradiction to a tweet from Tory Bruno from some time ago and interviews with him where he stated that the first engine sets would be exclusively from Kent. So it appears that Huntsville may be doing well enough that it is overtaking Kent on BE-4 flight engine production, and hence possibly explaining some of the recent 4670 test stand activity.
« Last Edit: 08/18/2023 12:15 am by Robert_the_Doll »

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #104 on: 08/18/2023 12:24 am »
It is now confirmed that BE-4 production at Huntsville is outpacing that at Kent, hence the Cert-2 engine being built there:

https://twitter.com/torybruno/status/1692329409561427993

Quote
Yes. Huntsville is coming up faster

Online JCRM

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #105 on: 08/18/2023 11:13 am »
It is now confirmed that BE-4 production at Huntsville is outpacing that at Kent, hence the Cert-2 engine being built there:


Quote
Yes. Huntsville is coming up faster
"Huntsville is coming up faster" could mean that production line at Huntsville is being put into action faster than originally anticipated, not that it is actually producing engines faster (yet).

Personally, I'd be glad to be cert testing an engine from the final production line, instead of both from the development line.

Offline Starshipdown

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #106 on: 08/18/2023 04:51 pm »
Huntsville has been producing engines for a while now. Their first engine off the line proper was Qual-1 last year and since then with its success on the test stands, they've been allowed to go into full production earlier this year, and they're really ramping it up after qual testing was finished. As Robert points out, you can see Final Assembly Bay 3  processed at least three engines in the last 8 months time.

So, it makes sense in both ways; it's coming online faster and it's producing engines faster. You saw that regen floor video and now the recent photos. It's just cranking out parts. This is not a surprise given it is built to not be an R&D shop but a production one.

Hopefully, Blue will be more forthcoming in the very near future about the engine firings being conducted at 4670.

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #107 on: 08/21/2023 10:31 am »

So, it makes sense in both ways; it's coming online faster and it's producing engines faster.
Absolutely makes sense both ways, which is why you should not claim it proves the most optimistic of the two interpretations.

I fully believe if it isn't producing engines faster yet, it will be soon.

Offline Tywin

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #108 on: 08/21/2023 08:23 pm »
Huntsville has been producing engines for a while now. Their first engine off the line proper was Qual-1 last year and since then with its success on the test stands, they've been allowed to go into full production earlier this year, and they're really ramping it up after qual testing was finished. As Robert points out, you can see Final Assembly Bay 3  processed at least three engines in the last 8 months time.

So, it makes sense in both ways; it's coming online faster and it's producing engines faster. You saw that regen floor video and now the recent photos. It's just cranking out parts. This is not a surprise given it is built to not be an R&D shop but a production one.

Hopefully, Blue will be more forthcoming in the very near future about the engine firings being conducted at 4670.


The Huntsville factory ampliation is finish already?
The knowledge is power...Everything is connected...
The Turtle continues at a steady pace ...

Offline Starshipdown

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #109 on: 08/22/2023 04:09 am »
Huntsville has been producing engines for a while now. Their first engine off the line proper was Qual-1 last year and since then with its success on the test stands, they've been allowed to go into full production earlier this year, and they're really ramping it up after qual testing was finished. As Robert points out, you can see Final Assembly Bay 3  processed at least three engines in the last 8 months time.

So, it makes sense in both ways; it's coming online faster and it's producing engines faster. You saw that regen floor video and now the recent photos. It's just cranking out parts. This is not a surprise given it is built to not be an R&D shop but a production one.

Hopefully, Blue will be more forthcoming in the very near future about the engine firings being conducted at 4670.


The Huntsville factory ampliation is finish already?

No, but Huntsville has finally gotten in gear with what it has currently. So it's naturally overtaking and surpassing Kent.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #110 on: 10/27/2023 02:18 pm »
https://twitter.com/senbillnelson/status/1717904201617908137

Quote
Impressive visit to the @blueorigin Huntsville Engine Production Facility! @NASA is proud to partner with Blue Origin, especially on the Blue Moon human landing system, which will help ensure a steady cadence of astronauts on the Moon to live and work before we venture to Mars.

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #111 on: 11/08/2023 06:31 pm »
https://twitter.com/blueorigin/status/1722310807357186251

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Power. Passion. History. Team Blue is building the future in Rocket City, AL.

#TeamBlue, #space, #FortheBenefitofEarth

Offline Torlek

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #112 on: 11/17/2023 12:10 am »
Multiple test firings tonight after not hearing them for several weeks. I will say the low frequency is significantly louder to the west of the stand and you can still clearly hear the turbopumps spin up and shut down over 7 km away. I saw several LH2 tankers heading towards the stand area today, so I wonder if this is still 3U testing.

Online Gliderflyer

Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #113 on: 11/17/2023 12:31 am »
I assume it is still 3U (I kinda wish I was closer, I've only heard it once a few weeks ago). BE-4 should be very noticeable when they finally get to it. It is ~half the thrust of an Atlas V and there are houses closer to 4670 than you can get to the ULA pad at Vandenberg, I bet people are going to *feel* it.
I tried it at home

Offline Robert_the_Doll

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #114 on: 11/25/2023 11:19 am »

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #115 on: 12/12/2023 10:23 pm »
A video covering the Huntsville factory.


Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #116 on: 12/16/2023 04:42 pm »


Quote
Machining Extremely Complex Parts out of HARD Materials at BLUE ORIGIN

TITANS of CNC MACHINING
16 Dec 2023

CNC Machining on the Highest Level. Going behind the scenes of Blue Origin, the 550,000 sq/ft MONSTER Machine Shop.

Get a Job at Blue Origin - Apply Now: https://rebrand.ly/TiBLUEORIGINCNC

Offline sferrin

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Re: Blue Origin's Huntsville Engine Factory
« Reply #117 on: 01/07/2024 02:58 pm »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

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