Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin published an updated timeline for the first flight to New Glenn, an orbital rocket built to complement its existing New Shepard suborbital space launch vehicle. The company is now targeting Q4 2022 – a drop of nearly a year from the time period reported towards the end of 2021. The main reason for this is Blue Origin? Space Army passing on using New Glenn to launch national security payloads during the recent contract bidding process.
Blue Origin said in a blog post that “the schedule is set to match the demand of Blue Origin’s commercial customers,” and specifically states that “the new Glenn for National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Follows the recent Space Force decision not to select “Phase 2 Launch Services Purchase (LSP)”. “Those awards were announced last August, and the two winners were the Joint Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX, which dominated Blue Origin, and also Northrop Grumman. The launch service contracts that make up the awards begin in 2022, so it makes sense that Blue Origin was insisting on the first launch of New Glen by the end of this year to meet the needs of the Space Force.
While it may not be at the same time pressure without access to those contracts, it is still making “major progress” toward New Glenn and from Cape Canaveral facilities in Florida from where it will launch, according to the company . Blue Origin shared tweets showing some of its progress, including work on the New Glen Rocket Factory, testing facility and launch complex 36. It also said that it has put more than $ 2.5 billion into facilities and infrastructure that will support its eventual launch.