Blue Ring promises to revolutionize the commercial space industry
Last October, Blue Origin unveiled the Blue Ring space tug, which is said to be an innovative solution in space logistics and delivery.
At this point, little is known about Blue Ring's technical potential, but remarks from Blue Origin's Vice President of National Security Sales, Lars Hoffman, indicate significant interest from potential customers. According to him, Blue Ring is capable of performing a wide range of tasks related to national security, civil sphere and commerce.
Blue Ring is equipped with 12 docking ports, each of which can accept a payload weighing up to 500 kilograms. Upper «deck» The spacecraft is capable of carrying a payload weighing up to two and a half tons. One of the features of the Blue Ring is its ability to change speed up to 3000 meters per second to maneuver in different orbits.
«Blue Ring's main task is to deploy satellites in required orbits, but it can also be used to transport payloads. This is a very functional transport with a service life of three to five years», — noted Hoffman.
Blue Ring is also capable of refueling other spacecraft. It can serve as a refueling station where other spacecraft can fly in, connect and receive fuel. As Hoffman noted, the Blue Ring is capable of refueling other vessels of the same type, which makes it possible to imagine the interaction of several Blue Rings within the framework of a space mission.
Details about Blue Ring's clients and its upcoming launches have not been disclosed. However, Hoffman shared information that negotiations are already underway between Blue Origin and potential users.
Blue Ring becomes part of Blue Origin's new division, In-Space Systems. However, the company is still best known for its suborbital flights on the New Shepard rocket and the development of the New Glenn orbital launch vehicle.
Blue Origin is currently actively working on the launch of the New Glenn launch vehicle, planned for the end of this year. Construction of Launch Complex 36 for the New Glenn launches at Cape Canaveral has been completed and ground testing is underway. In addition, Blue Origin continues to ramp up production of the BE-4 engines that will power both New Glenn and United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur. To speed up production of the BE-4, the company is using Marshall Space Flight Center's Test Bed 4670, which was previously used to test Saturn 5 engines and the Space Shuttle. The first tests of BE-4 engines at this stand took place on February 1.
In addition, Blue Origin plans to increase the speed of the New Shepard rocket. A payload flight was completed in December 2022, and a manned launch is expected in the near future, but the exact date has not been announced. The number of launches this year by Blue Origin has not yet been publicly provided.