The Jeff Bezos-founded launch company Blue Origin may have yet to achieve orbit with its New Glenn rocket series but its new In-Space Systems division has unveiled Blue Ring, a spacecraft platform focused on providing in-space logistics and delivery.
The Blue Ring space tug has been designed to serve commercial and government customers in hard-to-get-at orbits such as medium Earth orbit (MEO), the geostationary and geosynchronous orbits, and orbits all the way out to the cislunar environment and the Lagrange points beyond. According to Blue Origin, the platform provides end-to-end services that span hosting, transportation, refuelling, data relay, and logistics, including an “in-space” cloud computing capability. Blue Ring can host payloads of more than 3,000 kg. It can carry up to twelve smaller spacecraft on a delivery mission in addition to a main satellite payload delivery.
Blue Ring is primarily going to be launched by New Glenn rockets – but can also fly on other space launchers such as Vulcan and Falcon 9. It can fit into fairings of diameter 5.4 m and above. The spacecraft is designed for an operational life of five years and can be refuelled.
Comment by David Todd: One of Blue Ring’s selling points is that provides large delta-V capabilities via its roll-out solar array powered electric propulsion system allowing high energy orbital changes such as inclination removal. In effect, it can visit any orbit going. This factor will not be lost on the US military who will be keen to visit potential foe spacecraft with it.