Space Systems Command has signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Blue Origin to enable the latter’s New Glenn heavy-lift launch vehicle to compete for future National Security Space Launch program.
The agreement requires Blue Origin to restart and complete certification flights for New Glenn and provide the Assured Access to Space Directorate with design and qualification data for independent verification and validation process, SSC said Friday.
Blue Origin commenced certification activities for the rocket in 2018 under a launch service agreement that SSC terminated in 2020 following the awarding of NSSL phase 2 contracts to United Launch Services and SpaceX.
“More competitors in the National Security Space arena will help us meet an important national defense imperative to field advanced capabilities in space and get capabilities into the hands of our warfighters faster,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen Purdy, space operations director at SSC and program executive officer at AATS.