Jacklyn — formerly known as the Blue Origin landing platform ship or, officially in 2018–2020, as LPV); and before that, Stena Freighter, Stena Seafreighter, RFA Sea Chieftain, and Stena Hispanica — is a landing platform ship being refit in 2018–2020 from a former roll-on/roll-off cargo ship. The ship is owned by rocket and space technology company Blue Origin, and was purchased in 2018 for use as a floating landing platform for Blue's New Glenn launch vehicle booster stage. Since 2018, the ship has been undergoing refit to prepare for its role of landing first stages.
Ship outline when in service for Stena Line, 2004–2018
|Port of registry:||Majuro, Marshall Islands 2018–present |
|Yard number:||1547 |
|Laid down:||19 February 1997 |
|Launched:||9 May 1998 |
|Completed:||12 March 2004|
|Out of service:||October 2018|
|Status:||In yard for refit|
|Class and type:|
|Length:||182.8 m (600 ft) |
|Beam:||25.5 m (84 ft)|
|Draft:||7.4 m (24 ft)|
|Depth:||8.4 m (28 ft)|
|Speed:||22 kn (41 km/h; 25 mph) |
When the ship is used operationally for rocket landings — no earlier than 2022, since that is when Blue Origin is planning to make the first orbital launch of the New Glenn rocket — it is expected that the rocket boosters will be recovered downrange of the Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 36 (LC-36) in the Atlantic Ocean via Jacklyn while the hydrodynamically-stabilized ship is underway. The ship stabilization technology is designed to increase the likelihood of successful rocket recovery in rough seas, as well as helping to carry out launches on schedule.
The ship was initially laid down in February 1997 as the Stena Hispanica for the Stena Line, but on 5 May 1998 was renamed RFA Sea Chieftain (A97) after the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) contracted with Stena for a long-term charter of the vessel for freight-carrying capacity to support the Joint Rapid Reaction Force. The ship was launched just four days later on 9 May 1998.
Societa Esercizio Cantieri had fallen into financial difficulties, and the contract for the ship was cancelled in 1998 due to delays in construction. At the time, work on the hull was complete and the ship 50% finished. The shipyard went bankrupt in 1999, and all work on the ship ceased.
In 2002, "the incomplete vessel was purchased from a bankruptcy estate at auction by Stena Line" and renamed Stena Seafreighter. After months of additional financial and performance difficulties by several shipyards in Slovenia and Croatia in 2003, she was towed to Arsenale Shipyard in Venice, and then steamed under her own power to Kraljevica in Croatia for final completion. As a result of the delays, the ship "never sailed as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary" for the British Ministry of Defence. The ship was renamed Stena Freighter and delivered to Stena Line in March 2004.
Stena confirmed the sale of the vessel on 30 August 2018, and in October 2018, Blue Origin, a U.S. launch service provider and space technology company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, confirmed it was the purchaser. The vessel sailed to Florida and arrived at Pensacola in October 2018 to commence a refit. In March 2017, Blue Origin had unveiled the concept of landing a rocket on a hydrodynamically-stabilized ship that was underway, but did not reveal which marine vessel would be used as the landing platform until October 2018.
Launches of the New Glenn launch vehicle are planned to be made from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 36, which was leased to Blue Origin in 2015. The first stage boosters of New Glenn are intended to be reusable, and will be recovered downrange in the Atlantic Ocean via LPV. The hydrodynamically-stabilized ship increases the likelihood of successful recovery in rough seas. The ship will not be crewed at the time the New Glenn booster is landing; it will be autonomously or telerobotically controlled.
In October 2018, Blue Origin said that their plans were to make the first orbital launch of New Glenn in 2021. In February 2021, Blue Origin stated that the maiden flight was now targeted for late 2022.
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