NASA’s Launch Services Program is designed to help launch uncrewed rockets that deliver spacecraft into orbit or farther out into the universe. The latest company to benefit from the program is Blue Origin, as NASA has announced that the company will be awarded a Launch Services II contract.
The new contract specifically grants Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle the authorization to launch planetary, Earth observation, exploration, and scientific satellites for NASA. Now, NASA centers have the ability to design spacecraft that can utilize New Glenn’s seven-meter fairing and outstanding lift performance.
Jarrett Jones, senior vice president, New Glenn, Blue Origin, had the following to say on the new contract:
“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. The award builds on Blue Origin’s existing partnership with NASA and will advance science and exploration to benefit Earth.”
NASA’s Launch Services contractors are required to have the ability to successfully launch and deliver payloads to Earth orbit using a domestic launch service. More specifically, that launch service must also be capable of putting a 551-pound payload into a 124-mile circular orbit — something the New Glenn rocket should definitely be capable of doing.