Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, is putting effort to get his private space company into production mode as results of the reports that his heavy rocket scheduled for lift-off in 2020 is slipping behind schedule.
According to Reuters, Blue Origin has added hundreds of engineers over the past three years and continues to ramp up in an expansion that one employee described as “hyperbolic.”
The Kent, Washington-based company is looking to double its current workforce to around 3,000 employees over the next two to three years, a top customer told Reuters.
New Glenn is the heavy-launch rocket, which Bezos says it will be able to haul satellites and, eventually, people into orbit.
This project success is essential in winning lucrative military and commercial contracts.
In order to lower costs and increase the frequency of launches, New Glenn’s first-stage booster will be reusable.
Blue Origin executives have stated publicly that test flights will begin within two years.
Reuters wrote that Blue Origin in private conversations with their first costumer French satellite firm Eutelsat SA admitted that its 2020 time frame is “very aggressive.”
However, their contract covers the launch of a geostationary satellite in the period 2021-2022, meaning that Blue Origin will incur no penalties if it is late, Reuters added.
Yohann Leroy, Eutelsat’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said that he was optimistic New Glenn will be ready to carry his firm’s satellite by the end of 2022.
“Of course, I cannot guarantee that they will respect their initial timeline, but we are confident that they will not be very far from it,” Leroy said.
There is a rise in the “rocket” market, with aerospace firms like United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin; and France’s ArianeGroup, a joint venture between Airbus and Safran. Meanwhile, Japan and China are also designing reusable rockets.
But all these companies are lagging behind SpaceX, which is years ahead of both private and government space launch technologies.