Mar 5, 2020

Blue Origin shows off the finished massive nose cone for its future New Glenn rocket

Posted by in category: satellites

Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin has completed the first nose cone of its future orbital rocket, the New Glenn — and new video of the hardware shows the true enormity of this piece of equipment. With a diameter of 7 meters, or 22 feet, the cavernous nose cone is so giant that it can completely house Blue Origin’s smaller New Shepard rocket.

The nose cone, or payload fairing, is a crucial piece of any rocket heading to space. It sits on top of the vehicle and surrounds whatever payload or satellite the rocket is carrying, acting as a shield during the ascent through the atmosphere. Once in space, the payload breaks away and exposes the satellite so that the payload can be deployed by the rocket.

The size of a rocket’s fairing is also key because it dictates which kinds of satellites can fit on top of a rocket. If the fairing is too small, for instance, larger satellites and modules won’t be able to fly. This limiting factor has led to an industry phrase known as the “tyranny of the fairing,” as the nose cone often prohibits the ability to fly massive payloads into orbit.

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