Chandler Rocket Company Receives $800M Air Force Contract

Katie Ramirez
October 12, 2018

Awarded under the United States government's Launch Service Agreement, these contract form part of the USA government's attempts to reduce reliance on Russian rockets for launches that are of national importance from a security standpoint. "Leveraging domestic commercial space launch systems is good for the Air Force, and a revitalized commercial launch industry is good for the taxpayer", Wilson added.

The public-private partnerships will ensure "the US maintains assured access to space, with at least two domestic launch service providers and without reliance on non-allied rocket propulsion systems". Each company will receive an initial award of $181 million.

Northrop Grumman, which recently acquired Orbital ATK, will receive almost $800 million for its OmegA Launch system. The contracts are to develop rockets and carry defence payloads into space. SpaceX was not listed among the award recipients.

Blue Origin Blue Origin will take home $500 million to aid in the development of its future New Glenn rocket.

Our launch program is a great example of how we are fielding tomorrow's Air Force faster and smarter. SMC is the U.S. Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems.

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Northrop will perform work in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, Florida, Ohio and Louisiana through December 31, 2024, while Blue Origin will carry out prototype development in Washington and Alabama through July 31, 2024.

The Air Force program dates back to 2003, and is an effort to modernize the Air Force's rocket fleet and move it away from its reliance on ULA's Delta II rocket, which was costly, and ULA's Atlas V rocket, which used Russian RD-180 engines. The New Glenn is a reusable orbital vehicle created to land back on Earth after launch.

Named after Astronaut John Glenn, "New Glenn" is a single-configuration, operationally reusable launch vehicle - built right here in Kent - powered by seven BE-4 liquefied natural gas rocket engines, and it offers significant performance margin for all NSS missions.

United Launch Alliance in 2015 announced it plans to retire the Delta IV variant.

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