Chandler Rocket Company Receives $800M Air Force Contract

Jeff Bezos and New Glenn

Jeff Bezos and New Glenn

Blue Origin's New Glenn launch system, United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur launch system and Northrop Grumman's OmegA launch system were winners the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program Wednesday, a highly sought-after award that will allow the companies to complete development of their boosters for the three rockets.

Two of the new rockets will be selected in a second competition, providing assured access to space through the next decade and beyond.

Interestingly, current launch provider SpaceX was not on the list. The program aids in the development of commercial rockets and ensures that the US government has constant access to space for its national security payloads. "Leveraging domestic commercial space launch systems is good for the Air Force, and a revitalized commercial launch industry is good for the taxpayer".

ULA was awarded almost $1 billion for its new rocket, the Vulcan Centaur. "We're making the most of the authorities Congress gave us, and we will no longer be reliant on the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine".

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United Launch Alliance Through 2024, ULA will receive $967 million to develop its upcoming rocket called the Vulcan, also known as the Vulcan Centaur. SMC is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems.

Northrup Grumman's Omega rocket features a powerful solid-fuel first stage motor. ULA announced in September that its Vulcan rocket will be powered by Blue's BE-4 liquid rocket engines.

The LSA partnership enables rapid buildout of NSS-unique "New Glenn" infrastructure such as vertical payload integration capability and a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base as well as completion of NSS certification activities. New Glenn is expected to reach initial launch capability in 2020. Bezos tweeted a thank-you message Wednesday to the Air Force for its "confidence in the Blue Origin team".

The US Air Force yesterday said that it had awarded a total US$2.3 billion (RM9.55 billion) in contracts to develop rocket launch systems for national security missions.

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