Jeff Bezos is full of surprises. In the past month, the Amazon founder has bought Whole Foods on a whim and showed up to the Sun Valley Conference looking like late-period Bruce Willis. On Thursday, he decided to show off some slick drone footage of the new Blue Origin rocket facility that will build the company’s New Glenn orbital launch vehicle. And yeah, he definitely makes a cameo.
Bezos posted the new footage on his Instagram on Thursday, writing the “Manufacturing facility for the heavy-lift New Glenn launch vehicle is coming along nicely.” The video is a slick little drone shot over the massive new facility built to design New Glenn, featuring a surprise Jeff Bezos sitting on the roof of the building, a 750,000 square foot monstrosity built in Exploration Park, Florida, right next to the Kennedy Space Center.
New Glenn is Blue Origin’s $2.5 billion answer to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. It’s designed to get Bezos’s private spaceflight ambitions off the ground after it perfects the process of reusable rocket boosters with the smaller New Shepard boosters.
The foundation of the New Glenn is the BE-4 engine: The first stage of the rocket will use seven grouped engines to propel massive payloads out of Earth’s gravity well, helped by the second stage’s single engine. Here’s a video of how that’ll work:
Bezos wants to start crewed flights on board New Shepherd rockets within the year.