Blue Origin, the Kent-based space-exploration company founded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, on Monday revealed plans for a new heavy-lift rocket to take commercial satellites and humans into orbit.

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Blue Origin, the Kent-based space-exploration company founded by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, on Monday revealed plans for a new heavy-lift rocket to take commercial satellites and humans into orbit.

Bezos even hinted at plans beyond that for a mission to return humans to the moon.

The proposed New Glenn rocket — named after John Glenn, the first American to go into orbit around the Earth — will come in 2- and 3-stage versions, the latter more than 300 feet tall.

That’s much bigger than the current single-stage Blue Origin rocket, which has successfully flown repeated suborbital missions to the edge of space, 100 kilometers, or about 60 miles, aloft.

Like that first rocket — New Shepard, named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space — the proposed orbital rocket will have a first-stage booster designed to come back down and land intact to be reused on subsequent missions.

New Shepard has now flown to space and returned its booster stage to Earth in a soft landing four times.

In an emailed statement, Bezos said Blue Origin plans to fly New Glenn for the first time before the end of this decade from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In taking this next step, Blue Origin enters into more direct competition with United Launch Alliance and with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

The booster for both variants of the New Glenn rocket will be about 170 feet tall, more than three times taller than New Shepard’s. Its diameter will be 23 feet and it will lift off with 3.85 million pounds of thrust, according to Blue Origin.

It will be powered by seven BE-4 engines, each generating 550,000 pounds of thrust. This engine is now under development by Blue Origin, scheduled for first flight in 2019 and powered by liquefied natural gas and liquid oxygen.

Blue Origin has agreed to provide the same engine to United Launch Alliance, the Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture, to power its planned Vulcan orbital space rocket, expected to fly in 2019.

The New Glenn 2-stage model is 270 feet tall in total. A single BE-4 engine will power its second stage.

The 3-stage version, with another section stacked vertically on top of the 2-stage model, is 313 feet tall.

This third stage will be powered by a single BE-3 engine, which is Blue Origin’s current-generation engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and generating one fifth the thrust of the BE-4.

The 3-stage variant is capable of flying missions beyond low Earth orbit.

Rival SpaceX has already sent its Falcon 9 rockets into orbit and returned the booster stages to Earth.

And it plans a bigger rocket called the Falcon Heavy. That rocket is shorter than Blue Origin’s New Glenn design, but only because instead of having the different stages stacked vertically, the first-stage booster consists of three rockets strapped together in parallel, with a second stage on top of the middle rocket.

The Falcon Heavy will be more powerful, featuring 27 of SpaceX’s Merlin engines, delivering a total of 5.34 million pounds of thrust compared with 4.51 million pounds on the three-stage New Glenn.

The Falcon Heavy will be able to lift into orbit a payload of 120,000 pounds, second only to the Saturn V rockets that powered Apollo moon missions. Boeing was the lead contractor on those NASA titans that delivered 7.9 million pounds of thrust and could carry 310,000 pounds into orbit.

SpaceX had a major setback Sept. 1 with a huge launchpad explosion of a Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral. That will almost certainly delay plans to launch the Falcon Heavy this year.

Blue Origin’s announcement, short on detail, did not reveal the payload capacity of the New Glenn.

Clearly Blue Origin is moving slower than SpaceX. Bezos presents that as a deliberate strategy, symbolized in the company’s faux coat-of-arms that features a tortoise and the Latin motto “Gradatim Ferociter” — which it translates as “step by step, ferociously.”

“In the long run, deliberate and methodical wins the day,” Bezos wrote Monday.

He ended his email with a tease for the future. Calling New Glenn “a very important step,” he added, “It won’t be the last of course.”

“Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong,” Bezos wrote, referring to Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. “But that’s a story for the future.”