Air Force Doles Out $2.3B for Space Launch Contracts
Air Force Doles Out $2.3B for Space Launch Contracts
Blue Origin's New Glenn rocket wins Air Force contract
13 October, 2018, 07:42
Blue Origin is one of three recipients of a $2.3 billion Department of Defense (DoD) contract, meant to ensure the military's rocket launch technology is developed and manufactured domestically, Reuters reported Wednesday. The EELV program has successfully launched 72 NSS missions, dating back to 2003, using the Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles.
Blue Origin, which has a launch site east of El Paso in Van Horn, Texas, has entered into a Launch Services Agreement partnership with the U.S.
In a statement, Bob Smith, the company chief executive officer said that the contract "allows us to further expand our launch manifest beyond our existing commercial customers to fly vital national security space missions".
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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.
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Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems used to be known as Orbital ATK Inc. and operates as the aviation division of parent company Northrop Grumman. "Leveraging domestic commercial space launch systems is good for the Air Force, and a revitalized commercial launch industry is good for the taxpayer". Crewed spacecraft could also be launched, just like the predecessor Ares I and Liberty rockets, which were created to launch the Orion space capsule. Finally, Blue Origin will receive $500 million to help in the development of its future New Glenn rocket, which are supposed to be able to come back to earth in one piece after launching their payloads - a technology SpaceX has already developed, and almost perfected. New Glenn is expected to reach initial launch capability in 2020. Design work on the vehicle began in 2012. The company also recently announced that it would sell its BE-4 engine to ULA, another significant revenue stream. Like the New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle that preceded it, the New Glenn's first stage is created to be reusable. For almost a decade, ULA had a monopoly on Pentagon launches until it was challenged by SpaceX, which eventually was granted certification and has been competing against ULA.
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