How Blue Origin is trying to rework the rules of the Air Force’s coveted rocket competition
An animation of Blue Origin’s New Glenn launch vehicle, which is supposed to fly for the first time in 2021 | Image: Blue Origin
On Monday, August 12th, aerospace company Blue Origin filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), arguing that the Air Force is running a “flawed” competition to pick the agency’s next round of launch providers for national security missions. There’s a good chance this last-ditch protest could change the terms of the competition before final selections are made, but shifting the rules in favor of Blue Origin won’t guarantee that the company is chosen in the end.
The day that Blue Origin filed the protest was the same day that proposals were due for the Air Force’s Launch Service Procurement program. The initiative aims to select two rocket companies that will launch all of the Air Force’s missions to space from 2022…