Following an extended shipyard stay, the ship that was supposed to catch space rockets for one of the world’s richest men is now headed to a scrapyard.
Jeff Bezos’ space venture Blue Origin purchased the ship from European ferry operator Stena Line in 2018 and planned to convert it from a roll-on/roll-off cargo vessel into a “rocket landing ship” for Blue Origin’s reusable New Glenn rocket.
The ship was originally planned for maintenance, repair, overhaul and modification work at Offshore Inland Marine’s yard in Pensacola, Florida. In December 2020, Bezos and Blue Origin even held a christening ceremony, re-naming the vessel “Jacklyn” after his mom Jacklyn Bezos.
Work was expected to take about a year, but years later little progress had been made, at least with respect to any sort of landing apparatus, despite full-time work and “tens of millions” of dollars spent.
According to the Port of Pensacola, a large tug named Julie F is now towing Jacklyn to a facility in Brownesville, Texas where by all accounts she will be scrapped.
Unconfirmed reports say Blue Origin may have ditched plans for Jacklyn in favor a less-costly barges similar to what SpaceX is using for landing rockets at sea.
As for the New Glenn rocket, it’s had its maiden voyage postponed from the end of 2021 to the end of 2022, but reports are now saying liftoff isn’t likely before the end of the year.
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