Blue Origin and SpaceX are the new rivals in commercial space exploration after the Soviet Union and the United States. But will either of them dominate the galaxy?

No doubt that the space economy has become very profitable, and with the rise of private companies in the space industry, we may witness exponential growth in the near future. But even so, SpaceX vs Blue Origin race to outdo each other may be the new normal!

Let’s find out more about these billionaire space fans. 

SpaceX and Blue Origin Full Comparison

SpaceX and Blue Origin were initiated almost at the same time by eccentric billionaire geniuses.

Today, these companies are renowned leaders and fierce rivals in the private spacecraft sector. However, they have interesting similarities.

Enabling Satellite Internet Constellation 

SpaceX has been working with Starlink to provide low-cost internet services. They have already installed 2,000 satellites and plan to launch 12,000 more. Coincidentally, these two companies (Starlink and SpaceX) belong to the same person (today’s world’s wealthiest man).

Blue Origin, on the other hand, is collaborating with Amazon to deliver 732 Kuiper satellites within 12 missions (i.e., 61 satellites per mission). Amazon aims to launch 3,236 satellites which seem to be a well-strategized plan to take over Starlink’s internet venture. Interestingly, the two companies (Blue Origin and Amazon) were founded by the world’s second richest man.

Common Interests

Both SpaceX and Blue Origin are fascinated by space exploration. They are revolutionizing the aerospace industry, hoping to achieve commercial success in space tourism and the internet market.  

These companies aim to revolutionize space travel by embracing reusability. Hence their continuous development of reusable rockets – a concept that other players in the industry have replicated. 

SpaceX and Blue Origin are historical rivals operating in the same industry but with diverse goals. Thankfully, their rivalry has helped accelerate space industrialization and does not prevent them from focusing and strategizing on their goals.

SpaceX vs Blue Origin
The design of a Blue Origin rocket, the New Glenn. The debut launch is planned for 2023.

SpaceX vs Blue Origin: Side by Side Comparison

As their fight for space exploration continues to heat up, these companies are preparing to launch their largest rockets!

A look into what to expect from Blue Origin’s and SpaceX’s Heaviest Rockets 

New GlennStarship
Created ByBlue OriginSpaceX
What Type of a Rocket is It?It is a heavy-lift launch vehicle bearing the same name as John Glenn (NASA astronaut) – It is suited for payloads and space travelsIt is a two-stage super-heavy-lift launch system suited for payloads and rideshare missions
When Did Design Work Commence?20122005
What Is It Designed for?To regularly carry people and payloads to Earth orbit and beyond.To Ferry passengers and cargo to planetary destinations, other destinations in the inner solar system, and on Earth.
SpecsIt features a 7-meter fairing, flight controls (4 forward fins), strakes, and actuated landing legs. It is designed to deliver over 13mt to orbit and 45mt to low Earth.  It measures 189ft tall with a 23ft diameter.Comes with 4 variants (a lunar tanker, cargo, crew, and propellant tanker).  It is 170ft tall and 30ft in diameter. It has a propellant capacity of 1,200t and the capacity to carry 100mt to low earth orbit.
EnginesUses BE-4, the most powerful liquid natural gas/ liquid oxygen engine. It is powered by a Raptor engine using liquid methane and liquid oxygen. 
Production CostNo less than $2.5 billion.Approximately $5 billion.
Launch DateThe debut launch is planned to occur in 2023Flight testing took place on 11th July 2022, but the rocket exploded. The company is expected to address the issue and work towards ensuring a successful orbital flight. 

SpaceX vs Blue Origin: What’s the Difference?

These two companies have lots of similarities, but they also differ significantly in their;  

1. Motive

SpaceX’s grand ambition is to settle humankind on the red planet. They believe that making humanity a multi-planetary species will help save the human race if something ever happens to the Earth. On the contrary, Blue Origin envisions a future where people can live and work in space – a move they consider beneficial for our home planet (Earth).

2. Achievements

SpaceX is operating in a more favorable state. Its rockets (Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy) and Dragon spacecraft are proven hardware that the company has already launched and commercialized. And today, they are building a more advanced and heavy machine- the Starship.

Needless to say, Blue Origin is equally capable of matching the competition. Their first commercialized flight, the New Shepard suborbital rocket, is operational. And they are developing a more powerful flight, “New Glenn,” expected to launch next year (2023).

SpaceX’s vehicles have achieved a top altitude of 363miles at a speed of 24,600mph, while the highest attained by Blue Origin’s spacecraft is 62.4 miles at a speed of 2,234 mph. 

3. Approach to Space Tourism

Blue Origin sold a ticket to space on their New Shepard suborbital rocket for $28 million in July 2021. They also claim to have sold tickets worth $100 million for future travels. SpaceX has the same strategy. They plan to charge $55 million per ticket to the International Space Station (ISS).  

4. Business Strategy

SpaceX is commercializing space by expanding exploration capacities and communication technologies to reduce the cost of touring beyond the Earth’s Orbit. Cost reduction is also Blue Origin’s main focus. However, their primary approach is to industrialize outer space and build a road to pave the way for future generations to tap into suborbital opportunities.     

SpaceX vs Blue Origin
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Florida. The image shows the rocket clearing the lightning arrestor towers at dusk. The payload was a COSMO-SkyMed 2nd Generation satellite.

SpaceX vs Blue Origin: Must-Know Facts

Facts about SpaceX

  • SpaceX is an American company in the spacecraft manufacturing, space launch, and satellite communication business.
  • Its formation took place in 2002
  • Its headquarters is in Hawthorne, California. 
  • It has four launch facilities: Vandenberg Space Force Base Space Launch Complex, Brownsville South Texas Launch Site, Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex, and Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex.
  • It is the first private spaceflight company to launch its workhorse Dragon Cargo spacecraft to the ISS. 
  • It has launched three vehicles (Falcon 1, Falcon 9, and Falcon Heavy) and built four rocket engines (Raptor, Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco).
  • The company made its first successful launch in December 2015.
  • SpaceX founded Starlink, a satellite internet constellation that provides internet access to 34 states. 
  • Its founder is also the CEO of Tesla Motors and a co-founder of PayPal

Facts About Blue Origin

  • Founded in 2000, Blue Origin is an American private suborbital spaceflight service provider and aerospace manufacturer.
  • The company has its headquarters in Kent, Washington. 
  • It has built four vehicles (Charon, Goddard, PM2, and New Shepard). However, only New Shepard managed to reach suborbital space. 
  • It made its first human space travel in July 2021.
  • Its technologies aim to develop Vertical Takeoff and Vertical Landing space vehicles.
  • Its founder is also Amazon’s former CEO.

Are You Excited about Space Habitation?

Space exploration is a costly affair but very exciting. However, weighing the pros and cons of space habitation before taking a bold move like Blue Origin and SpaceX could be wise. So, as we look at the possibilities of saving planet Earth by commercializing space, we need to assess how every action impacts the entire universe? 

SpaceX vs Blue Origin FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better: SpaceX or Blue Origin?

SpaceX has launched 164 successful missions, including 7 to the ISS (5 crews for NASA and 2 private). And Blue Origin has launched 21 successful missions with none to the ISS. That explains why SpaceX won the NASA contract for the moon lander.

Is Blue Origin the same as SpaceX?

No, these two are distinct companies with different goals.

Is Blue Origin ahead of SpaceX?

Blue Origin was founded two years before the formation of SpaceX. However, SpaceX takes the lead in the development of orbital launch systems.

Who came first, SpaceX or Blue Origin?

Blue Origin was founded in 2000 to preserve the Earth by creating the infrastructure needed for people to live and work in space. It also aims to make space travels affordable and more accessible. Two years later, in 2002, SpaceX was formed with the intent to lower the cost of space transportation and colonize Mars.

Is Blue Origin doomed?

Blue Origin has made five suborbital commercial tours in less than a year! Losing the lunar lander contract has not distracted them from pursuing their dreams. They are working on the Orbit Reef project with Sierra Space and other space industry players. And are also developing a heavy-lift vehicle.

What does NASA think of Blue Origin?

Blue Origin secured a $130 million contract with NASA to build Orbital Reef (Private Space Station) to help shape the future of space travel and exploration after ISS (International Space Station) is retired in 2031. This means NASA considers Blue Origin a potential partner in the industry.

Did SpaceX lose the NASA contract?

SpaceX won the $2.9 billion contract to build the first commercial moon lander for NASA Artemis Program, scheduled for 2025.

Can Blue Origin go into orbit?

Blue Origin’s vehicles are suborbital. But, they have plans to land on the lunar surface using their ‘Blue Moon’ spacecraft, which is still under development.

Who founded SpaceX and Blue Origin?

Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin, while Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX.

About the Author

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