Blue Origin Just Officially Delayed New Glenn Orbital Rocket's First Flight
Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin has delayed the first launch of its orbital rocket New Glenn until the fourth quarter of 2022, according to a blog post shared on the company's official website.
Blue origin just delayed the first launch of New Glenn orbital rocket
The New Glenn rocket — which is part of the launch architecture for the company's New Shepard suborbital space launch vehicle — was pushed back roughly a year in the previous timeline, which placed the New Glenn rocket's launch somewhere near the end of 2021.
Space Force's passing on employing New Glenn to launch national security payloads amid a recent contract bidding is listed as the primary cause for the delay, in the blog post.
Blue Origin also said its "schedule has been refined to match the demand of Blue Origin's commercial customers," and described the decision as following "the recent Space Force decision to not select New Glenn for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP)."
These awards were announced in late August 2020 — with SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) selected as winners, instead of Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman (another bidder).
Blue Origin has invested $2.5 billion in launch facilities
The launch service contracts — which was for Space Force — would have awarded Blue Origin launches starting in 2022. So the company's initial schedule to launch by end of this year made sense, to meet the Space Force's needs.
Removing these year-end constraints may take the pressure of time off of Blue Origin, which is still making "major progress" toward completing New Glenn — which is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The company has released a flurry of tweets about some of this progress — claiming it has invested more than $2.5 billion in the facilities and infrastructure designed to support the forthcoming space launches.
This was a breaking story and was regularly updated as new information became available.