The BE-3 is the first new liquid hydrogen-fueled rocket engine to be developed for production in America in over a decade.
BE-3: Making History
On 23 November 2015, BE-3PM powered New Shepard’s Propulsion Module (PM) above the Kármán line and reignited for a soft landing on its history-making flight to space and back. That same engine repeated the feat four more times before we retired the propulsion module.
At full throttle, BE-3PM generates 490 kN (110,000 lbf) thrust at sea level (over a million horsepower). When returning to Earth, it uniquely throttles down to 90 kN (20,000 lbf) enabling a gentle vertical landing on the pad.
Like the Space Shuttle’s main engines, BE-3PM uses high performing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. BE-3PM is designed for operational reusability with minimal maintenance between flights. Our approach increases availability while lowering operating costs.
BE-3U Upper Stage Variant
We’re currently testing the newest member of the BE-3 family, BE-3U (Upper stage), optimized to operate in the vacuum of space. With a back-to-back turbine assembly and a larger nozzle, BE-3U generates 710 kN (160,000 lbf) thrust in vacuum.
Two BE-3U engines power New Glenn’s restartable upper stage, enabling the full range of customer missions including direct injection to geostationary orbit. Building on years of operational experience and rigorous testing, BE-3U will be one of the best understood rocket engines when it launches into space.