Jeff Bezos’s Big Rocket Moves Into View and Closer to Launch

There’s an easy knock against the space dreams of Jeff Bezos and his rocket company, Blue Origin: In its 24th year of existence, the company has yet to launch a single thing to orbit.

Blue Origin’s accomplishments to date are modest — a small vehicle known as New Shepard that takes space tourists and experiments on brief suborbital jaunts. By contrast, SpaceX, the rocket company started by the other high-profile space billionaire, Elon Musk, today dominates the launch market.

On Wednesday, Blue Origin hopes to change the narrative, holding a coming-out party of sorts for its new big rocket.

In the morning, at Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, the doors to a giant garage opened. The rocket, as tall as a 32-story building, lay horizontally on the trusses of a mobile launch platform.

The contraption was sitting on a transport mechanism that resembles several long mechanical centipedes, but with wheels, 288 in all, instead of feet. It began rolling slowly out and up a concrete incline, a quarter-mile trip toward the launchpad.

The rocket will undergo at least a week of tests before returning to the garage.

“I’m very confident there’s going to be a launch this year,” Dave Limp, the chief executive of Blue Origin, said in an interview. “We’re going to show a lot of progress this year. I think people are going to see how fast we can move.”

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