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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: 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.

    People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.
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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday April 10 2019, @06:05PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {}> 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 [] for the company involves supporting millions, billions, or even a trillion humans (including a "thousand Einsteins") living off-Earth. He also [] 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.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (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.

      People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.