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posted by chromas on Wednesday April 10 2019, @04:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the wait-for-me! dept.

Blue Origin urging Air Force to postpone launch competition

Blue Origin wants the U.S. Air Force to wait until 2021 before picking the two companies it intends [to] use for launching critical military satellites in the decade ahead.

The Air Force, however, aims to solicit proposals this spring and choose its two preferred launch providers in 2020 — perhaps a year or more before the new rockets that the Air Force is fostering at Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance and Northrop Grumman make their first flights.

All three companies were chosen in October by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to share $2.3 billion in so-called Launch Service Agreement (LSA) funding to support development of next-generation rockets capable of meeting the military's satellite launch needs.

The Air Force said last fall that all three LSA winners plus SpaceX would be required to submit new proposals in 2019 if they want to be among the two providers the Air Force intends to select in 2020 to split up to 25 future launch contracts.

Wait long enough, and maybe Starship will become a contender.

See also: The Air Force will soon take bids for mid-2020s launches. It's controversial

Related: Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads
The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built for the Next Decade


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:04PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:04PM (#827512)

    and Bozos wants a pony.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:13PM (3 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:13PM (#827516) Journal

      Blue Origin are not the only ones to complain about this round of contracts. See the March Ars story [arstechnica.com] and comments.

      And although SpaceX stands to benefit somewhat, having the contracts awarded later and more frequently could allow more use of Falcon Heavy, and even Starship. The current arrangement could benefit ULA by keeping ultra-cheap and huge Starship launches out of the picture for years.

      Blue Origin has to take some blame here since they were founded about a year and a half before SpaceX and still have not gone orbital.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:22PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:22PM (#827522) Journal

        Blue Origin has to take some blame here

        I didn't and don't have much respect for sub orbital amusement park joyrides for super rich people . . . WHILE ALSO . . . pretending to be a serious player.

        It's not that I think Blue Origin couldn't have been in a position to compete, it's that they didn't want to. Now they wish they had. I'm not criticizing their technical competence. This is clearly a management problem. A lack of vision. A lack of will to push to make it happen.

        The (mis?)-impression that I get is that they want to take a leisurely development pace.

        SpaceX OTOH, had a vision of Mars from the beginning, even if it wasn't and still isn't practical. It is a driving direction. A grand goal.

        --
        You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday April 10 2019, @06:05PM (1 child)

          by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 10 2019, @06:05PM (#827548) Journal

          I forgot to quote Blue Origin's motto: Gradatim Ferociter, aka "Step by Step, Ferociously". Now Bezos is seeing the downside of that approach.

          I would drop the myth that Blue Origin is not a serious venture. They are selling their BE-4 engines to ULA. New Glenn is planned for initial launch in 2021. Even if New Glenn doesn't materialize, the engines will live on.

          Bezos's vision [businessinsider.com] for the company involves supporting millions, billions, or even a trillion humans (including a "thousand Einsteins") living off-Earth. He also [howstuffworks.com] wants heavily polluting industries moved from Earth to Earth orbit, and asteroid mining. These are obviously much longer term goals than SpaceX is pursuing talking about, and SpaceX has a 2024 target date for getting humans on Mars. Even if SpaceX slips by 5-10 years, they could be the first to land humans on Mars. Building a full-scale colony is a longer-term pursuit, but it's flexible and the human presence can slowly grow over time.

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          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:18PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:18PM (#827599) Journal

            I do actually take Blue Origin seriously. And I did indicate a belief in their technical competence.

            But when the visible focus, and perception seems to have long been on sub orbital joyrides, it is hard to take them seriously. Even if they are serious. Obviously they are capitalized and able to spend a lot of money developing. It is not a business you do on a shoestring.

            As for Bezos vision, he doesn't seem to be passionate about it. Maybe with Musk, that passion comes through and is exciting.

            In short I am inspired by SpaceX. Not by Blue Origin. Now that could change. But BO has to change it.

            --
            You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snow on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:09PM (2 children)

    by Snow (1601) on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:09PM (#827513) Journal

    Maybe he should get to orbit first instead of just going up and down. Then maybe people will take him more seriously.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bob_super on Wednesday April 10 2019, @07:43PM (1 child)

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday April 10 2019, @07:43PM (#827591)

      Definitely true.
      But at the speed the space industry is going, I would not want to lock a purchase of 25 launches right now, if it was my cash.
      Award 5 to 10 launches now, as it is likely that in three to fours years the prices will drop with more launchers on the market.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by DannyB on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:21PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:21PM (#827601) Journal

        if it was my cash.

        But it is the taxpayer's cash. Therefore it is available in absolutely unlimited amounts!

        So why not do things inefficiently -- if that inefficiency can profit you. ala Boeing.

        Your post simply is too practical and sensible to ever become reality.

        --
        You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:22PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:22PM (#827523) Homepage Journal

    It's wonderful that you're about to get off of that mudball that spawned you. But, could you just slow down a little bit? I need to get in position to make a profit first.

    Thanks,
    BO

    --
    There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
  • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:58PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10 2019, @05:58PM (#827542)

    Blue appears to be building multiple ground support facilities before they have a working vehicle to use them.
    And now after diluting their efforts, asking for more time to have a vehicle.

    Sounds like a textbook case of:
          "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part"

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:24PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 10 2019, @08:24PM (#827602) Journal

      Wow. Now imagine that during vehicle development, some changes become necessary which now require changes to multiple already existing ground facilities.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
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