News Brief: Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith today signaled that the Kent, Wash.-based space company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is aiming to start flying people on suborbital space trips “early next year,” rather than later this year as previously envisioned. The signal was passed along by Space News’ Jeff Foust, who’s tweeting from the World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris. Smith was also quoted as saying Blue Origin was making good progress on tests of the BE-4 rocket engine, which is to be used on the company’s New Glenn reusable orbital-class rocket as well as United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan semi-reusable rocket. We’ve asked Blue Origin about the reports and will update this item with anything we hear back.
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