Jeff Bezos might be evolving into a competitor to United Launch Alliance, the Centennial-based rocket company that’s the been the U.S. government’s primary space launch contractor since 2006.
Blue Origin is the Kent, Washington-based rocket and space tourism startup founded by Bezos, the Amazon.com Inc. billionaire. It's talking with the U.S. Air Force about getting into national security launch missions, according to the rocket company’s CEO, Bob Smith.
“Our New Glenn launch vehicle will be more capable than existing launch vehicles flying today, and can be used not only for human spaceflight and other commercial missions, but also for civil and national security payloads,” Smith told the White House’s National Space Council last week, according to the trade publication SpaceNews. “Therefore, we are in early discussions with the national security community and NASA about how to certify New Glenn for their use.”
That signals a change from the Blue Origin’s previous public stance that it would be a ULA supplier on national security missions. ULA is partnering with Blue Origin on the development the BE-4 engine that could power ULA’s Vulcan rockets.