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Blue Origin, LLC is an American privately funded aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company headquartered in Kent, Washington. Founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos, the company, which in 2017 hired NASA Silver Snoopy Award winner Robert Smith as CEO, is developing technologies to enable private human access to space with the goal to dramatically lower costs and increase reliability. Blue Origin is employing an incremental approach from suborbital to orbital flight, with each developmental step building on its prior work. The company motto is Gradatim Ferociter, Latin for "Step by Step, Ferociously".Blue Origin is developing a variety of technologies, with a focus on rocket-powered vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) vehicles for access to suborbital and orbital space. The company's name refers to the blue planet, Earth, as the point of origin.Initially focused on suborbital spaceflight, the company has designed, built and flown multiple testbeds of its New Shepard spacecraft at its facilities in Culberson County, Texas. Developmental test flight of the New Shepard, named after the first American in space Alan Shepard, began in April 2015, and flight testing is continuing into 2018, with first passenger-carrying spaceflight expected in late 2018.
On nearly every one of the test flights since 2015, the uncrewed vehicle has flown to a planned test altitude of more than 100 km (330,000 ft) and achieved a top speed of more than Mach 3 (3,675 km/h; 2,284 mph), reaching space above the Kármán line, with both the space capsule and its rocket booster successfully soft landing, making reuse possible. By 2016, the second New Shepard booster test article had made four flights, each time exceeding 100 km (330,000 ft) in altitude, before returning for successful soft landings. The first crewed test flights are planned to take place in 2018,
with the start of commercial service in 2019.Blue Origin has become a part of a "dramatic metamorphosis" of the space industry in recent years,
having moved into the orbital spaceflight technology business in 2014, initially as a rocket engine supplier for others via a contractual agreement to build a new large rocket engine, the BE-4, for major US launch system operator United Launch Alliance (ULA). ULA is also considering the BE-3, Blue Origin's smaller rocket engine used on New Shepard, for use in a new second stage—the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES)—which will become the primary upper stage for ULA's Vulcan orbital launch vehicle in the 2020s.
By 2015, Blue Origin had announced plans to also manufacture and fly its own orbital launch vehicle from the Florida Space Coast, known as the New Glenn. BE-4 is expected to complete engine qualification testing by late 2018.

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