Blue Origin was one of three companies to win an Air Force contract award under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which intends to ensure there are domestic providers to launch national security payloads.
Blue Origin, the space company founded by Jeff Bezos, was awarded $500 million for its New Glenn rocket. Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems formerly Orbital ATK - will build the OmegA launch system, and ULA is slated to build its Vulcan Centaur launch system, both with initial launch capability by 2021.
uAn artist's impression of a United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur rocket blasting off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Atlas V rocket lifting off with NRO payload from Vandenberg, AFB on March 1. The rocket has been under development since 2014, and ULA expects the first launch of the new rocket to occur no earlier than mid-2020. The Atlas uses RD-180 engines made in Russian Federation.
Became known details of the murder of a journalist in Bulgaria
The European Commission has urged the Bulgarian authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the killing. Viktoria Marinova , 30, was discovered in a park in Ruse, a town near the River Danube, on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Named after Astronaut John Glenn, "New Glenn" is a single-configuration, operationally reusable launch vehicle - built right here in Kent - powered by seven BE-4 liquefied natural gas rocket engines, and it offers significant performance margin for all NSS missions.
"Our launch program is a great example of how we are fielding tomorrow's Air Force faster and smarter", said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson.
While the new prototypes are being developed, the Air Force statement said the department will continue to "competitively award commercial launch services contracts to providers who demonstrate the capability to design, produce, qualify and deliver launch systems and provide the mission assurance support required to deliver National Security Space satellites to orbit". SpaceX recently announced plans to launch a Japanese billionaire and a half-dozen artists on a flight around the moon. 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.