Test Stand 4670 has not been used since 1998. Source: NASATest Stand 4670 has not been used since 1998. Source: NASANASA and Blue Origin have signed an agreement for the private space company to use Test Stand 4670 at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Test stands restrain rocket engines and redirect blast for structural and thrust testing. Blue Origin will pay for the investments to prepare the test stand for use, as well as any direct costs NASA incurs.

As the agency focuses on landing on the Moon and eventually on Mars, Blue Origin will upgrade and refurbish Test Stand 4670 to test its BE-3U and BE-4 rocket engines. The BE-4 engine was selected to power United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket and Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle, which is designed to expand civil, commercial and national security space markets.

Test Stand 4670 served as the testing platform for many NASA missions, including the Saturn V propulsion testing for the Apollo program. Later it was used to support testing of the space shuttle’s external tank and main engine systems. It has been inactive since 1998.

“This test stand once helped power NASA’s first launches to the Moon, which eventually led to the emergence of an entirely new economic sector – commercial space,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard. “Now, it will have a role in our ongoing commitment to facilitate growth in this sector.”

The facility is underutilized, so NASA posted its availability to gauge commercial interest, leading to the NASA and Blue Origin deal

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