Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin inks rocket deal with Boeing, Lockheed Martin

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin inks rocket deal with Boeing, Lockheed Martin

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin inks rocket deal with Boeing, Lockheed Martin

"United Launch Alliance is the premier launch service provider for national security missions, and we're thrilled to be part of their team and that mission", Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said in a statement announcing the award on Thursday.

Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin space company will reportedly provide the engines for the Vulcan, a new rocket being built by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance.

Amazon.com and Blue Origin founder Jeffrey P. Bezos speaks at the Air Force Association's Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., on September 19.

"We are pleased to enter into this partnership with Blue Origin and look forward to a successful first flight of our next-generation launch vehicle", said Tory Bruno, president and chief executive of ULA, in a statement.

The announcement comes four years after the companies first announced their partnership to develop the BE-4.

In an April 2017 interview, Bruno said he was waiting for Blue Origin to complete a set of tests of the BE-4 before making a decision.

Blue Origin first hotfired the BE-4 in an October 2017 test, and since then has gradually ramped up the test campaign.

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"Huntsville is proud that both Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne will play a major role in ULA's production of the Vulcan Centaur rocket", Battle said.

The Vulcan rocket's maiden flight is slated for 2020. This month, Bezos said he'd be spending "just over a billion dollars" on the New Glenn program the next year.

The contract is a significant victory for Blue Origin, the little-known space company Bezos founded in 2000.

"I think it's pretty clear it's time for a 21st century booster engine", Bezos said at the time.

"We're still building this engine", Warren said of the AR1. A spokeswoman said details of the contract are proprietary.

It began developing the BE-4, a massive rocket engine intended for much more powerful launch vehicles, in 2011. Blue Origin also intends to compete for national security launches - and could end up bidding against ULA.

Musk also criticized the high cost of the heavy-lift Delta 4, which uses Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-68 first stage engines and is now the most powerful fully operational rocket in the US inventory. The eventual cost of the Vulcan is not yet known. "This simple design is more cost-efficient for all customers, whether defense and national security, NASA science and human spaceflight, or commercial".

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