NASA has signed an agreement with Blue Origin to use that company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle for flights that will simulate the reduced gravity on the surface of the moon.
Some saw Jeff Bezos' announcement that he will will step down as chief executive of Amazon in July as a sign that Bezos would use that time and energy to provide new urgency for Blue Origin.
As launch activity grows on the Eastern Range in Florida, companies and government agencies are looking at ways to add capacity, largely through incremental improvements.
Senior VP Jarrett Jones said the schedule had to be pushed back following the Space Force decision to not select New Glenn as a national security launch provider.
The U.S. Space Force on Dec. 31 officially terminated launch technology partnerships signed in October 2018 with Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman.
Blue Origin flew a new model of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle Jan. 14, a flight the company says brings it “really close” to finally flying people.
NASA has added New Glenn, the large launch vehicle under development by Blue Origin, to the list of vehicles eligible to compete for future agency missions.
Blue Origin has achieved a new milestone in the development of the engine that will power the lunar lander it seeks to provide for NASA’s Artemis program.
Executives of major launch companies said they doubted there was sufficient demand for more than a few small launch vehicle developers, citing their own efforts to provide rideshare launch services for smallsats.
Blue Origin says the Air Force should continue to fund New Glenn so it can be certified for national security missions.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle made its first flight in 10 months Oct. 13, carrying a dozen payloads for NASA and other customers to the edge of space and back.
Commercial spaceflight company Blue Origin is considering development of commercial space stations, with NASA as a potential early customer.
DIU space director Butow: “We have the power where it make sense of leveraging and using public private partnerships to our advantage.”