Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin wins $500 million Air Force contract for development of New Glenn rocket

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin won a $500 million U.S. Air Force contract for development of its New Glenn rocket, marking a major vote of confidence by the U.S. military in the Kent, Wash., space company.

Blue Origin was one of three companies to win an Air Force contract award under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which intends to ensure there are domestic providers to launch national security payloads. The awards were announced Wednesday afternoon.

Northrop Grumman Corp., which acquired Orbital ATK Inc. this year, won a $791.6 million contract for development of its Omega rocket. A joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. known as United Launch Alliance won the largest amount — $967 million — for work on its Vulcan Centaur rocket.

Each company will initially be allocated $181 million.

Currently, ULA and SpaceX are the only launch providers for national security payloads.

Bezos, who also serves as Amazon.com Inc.’s chief executive, said in September he would personally invest $1 billion in New Glenn. Bezos tweeted a thank-you message Wednesday to the Air Force for its “confidence in the Blue Origin team.”

“We are proud to serve the national security space community and are committed to providing safe, reliable access to space for the nation.”

Work on the launch system is expected to be completed by July 2024, according to a Defense Department contract notice. New Glenn is expected to reach initial launch capability in 2020.

The company said in a tweet that the Air Force contract will help it get certified to launch national security missions. Blue Origin is developing a launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Wednesday’s contract award notice is a double victory of sorts for Blue Origin. The company will also be providing the engines to power the first stage of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket.

The funding awards, however, are not necessarily a guarantee that these companies will win launch contracts in the future, the Air Force said in a statement. SpaceX and other companies that did not receive one of Wednesday’s awards can still bid for future launch contracts.

The Air Force said it would not discuss which companies submitted bids for the funding agreements.

———

© 2018 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Visit the USSA News store!
Click this link for the original source of this article.
Author: Samantha Masunaga – Los Angeles Times


This content is courtesy of, and owned and copyrighted by, https://americanmilitarynews.com and its author. This content is made available by use of the public RSS feed offered by the host site and is used for educational purposes only. If you are the author or represent the host site and would like this content removed now and in the future, please contact the USSANews.com administrator by using the contact form located in the top-left menu. Your request will be immediately honored. Please visit https://americanmilitarynews.com for more terrific, conservative content. The owner of this website may be paid to recommend American Bullion. The content of this website, including the positive review of American Bullion, the negative review of its competitors, and any other information may not be independent or neutral.