NASA awarded Kent-based Blue Origin a NASA Launch Services II Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract to launch planetary, Earth observation, exploration and scientific satellites for the agency aboard New Glenn, the company’s orbital reusable launch vehicle.
The contract, announced Dec. 18 by NASA, allows Blue Origin to compete for missions through launch service task orders issued by NASA. Project managers at NASA Centers around the country can now design spacecraft to take advantage of New Glenn’s unique seven-meter fairing and heavy-lift performance for a broad range of missions, according to a Blue Origin statement.
“We are proud to be in NASA’s launch services catalog and look forward to providing reliable launches for future NASA missions aboard New Glenn for years to come,” said Jarrett Jones, senior vice president, New Glenn, Blue Origin. “The award builds on Blue Origin’s existing partnership with NASA and will advance science and exploration to benefit Earth.”
New Glenn is a single-configuration, operationally reusable heavy-lift launch vehicle powered by seven BE-4 liquefied natural gas rocket engines. The vehicle’s seven-meter fairing provides more than double the usable volume of any existing launch vehicle.
Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, opened in Kent in 2000. The company opened a new headquarters in January along 76th Avenue South, and is expected to employ more than 4,000 by the end of the year, according to city of Kent officials.