On Monday, Jeff Bezos revealed an ambitious plan to launch some of the largest rockets ever designed “before the end of this decade.”
Blue Origin — Bezos’ privately aerospace company — will design and build two types of “New Glenn” rockets, which are named after John Glenn (the first American to orbit Earth) and will tower over the rocket systems planned by SpaceX, an aerospace company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Here’s just how big New Glenn rockets be compared to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and upcoming Falcon Heavy rockets, plus NASA’s Apollo-era Saturn V rocket:
One New Glenn launcher will be 270 feet tall and have two rocket stages; a bigger version will be 313 feet tall and made of three rocket stages. Both are designed to launch satellites or humans into space, though the latter might be powerful enough to launch payloads beyond Earth’s grasp.
Each rocket will share the same 23-foot-wide booster, which can be reused again and again in hopes of lowering the cost of access to space.
“Building, flying, landing, and re-flying New Shepard has taught us so much about how to design for practical, operable reusability. And New Glenn incorporates all of those learnings,” Bezos wrote in an emailed statement sent to Business Insider.
NASA’s Apollo-era Saturn V rockets, which weren’t reusable, were 363 feet tall, and NASA’s upcoming Space Launch System (also not reusable) will be about 321 feet tall.
New Glenn rockets, if Bezos’ plan succeeds, will tower over SpaceX’s reusable 229-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket and upcoming Falcon Heavy launchers (which may not launch this year as planned, given the recent launchpad rocket explosion).
But that’s not all Bezos has planned.
“Our vision is millions of people living and working in space, and New Glenn is a very important step. It won’t be the last of course,” he wrote. “Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.”
Blue Origin declined to provide additional information about its new rockets. SpaceX did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.