The United States Air Force has awarded a contract worth $500 million to Blue Origin for the development of its New Glenn heavy-lift orbital rocket.
Jeff Bezos’s private space company will build the New Glenn rocket to ferry a 50-ton payload into low-Earth orbit, with its reusable first stage returning to the surface and landing.
Blue Origin stated that it would pursue a launch site at the Vandenberg Air Force Base and would gain certification for national security missions.
The United States Air Force stated that it’s investing more into space launches to maintain the country’s existing advantage in space development.
“Since the early days of the space programme, the Air Force has been a world leader in space launch,” said Air Force Chief of Staff David L. Goldfein.
“As space becomes more contested and our adversaries develop new capabilities to thwart our advantage, we are fielding our space capabilities to ensure we remain the best in the business.”
Honored to be selected by @usairforce through the LSA acquisition. With this, we will pursue a Vandenberg launch site and gain certification for national security missions. Thrilled to leverage our commercial heavy-lift #NewGlenn launch vehicle for these important missions. pic.twitter.com/35OMPkAjuO
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) October 10, 2018