Published: Sat, October 13, 2018
Research | By Dana Schwartz

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Awarded Lucrative Military Contract

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Awarded Lucrative Military Contract

Under the terms of the contract, the United Launch Alliance, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and Blue Origin, will work towards developing rockets capable of taking national security satellites into orbit around the earth.

"These awards are central to the Air Force goal of two domestic, commercially viable launch providers that meet National Security Space requirements", Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander, said in a statement.

Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, was awarded $500 million for its New Glenn rocket. "These innovative public-private partnerships with industry provide a path to develop launch vehicles to assure access to space, address the urgent need to transition away from strategic foreign reliance and provide responsive launch capabilities to the warfighter".

The Vulcan's first stage engine compartment can be jettisoned in flight for recovery, refurbishment and re-use.

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"These awards are a leap forward in space launch capabilities, ensuring continued US dominance in space", said Dr. William Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

Blue Origin will also build its own launch site at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, switching coasts from its traditional site at Cape Canaveral, Florida. With major propulsion and structural elements of OmegA already complete, Northrop Grumman is on schedule to complete propulsion system ground tests in 2019 and conduct its first launch in 2021.

Northrop will perform work in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, Florida, Ohio and Louisiana through December 31, 2024, while Blue Origin will carry out prototype development in Washington and Alabama through July 31, 2024. "We're making the most of the authorities Congress gave us, and we will no longer be reliant on the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine".

In a tweet, Bezos thanked the Air Force "for your confidence in the @BlueOrigin team and our #NewGlenn rocket". The company is receiving $791.6 million to develop their Omega rocket. The company also recently announced that it would sell its BE-4 engine to ULA, another significant revenue stream.

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