Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company Blue Origin is delaying the maiden flight launch of its New Glenn rocket to the fourth quarter of 2022. The flight was earlier scheduled for sometime this year.
The decision comes after the company lost out on a key Pentagon project to rival firms United Launch Alliance and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
Blue Origin on Thursday said that its team has been in contact with all of its customers to ensure that the new schedule meets their launch needs.
“This updated maiden flight target follows the recent Space Force decision to not select New Glenn for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 Launch Services Procurement (LSP),” the company said, adding that it remains committed to serving the US national defence mission.
Named after astronaut John Glenn, New Glenn is a partially reusuable heavy-lift rocket designed to launch commercial satellites and national security payloads.
The company said that New Glenn is proceeding to fulfill its current commercial contracts, pursue a large and growing commercial market, and enter into new civil space launch contracts.
Recent milestones include completion of a New Glenn first stage mockup simulator, completion of a structural test facility, and hardware milestones for tanks, stage modules, and composite fairings.
Blue Origin has invested more than $2.5 billion in facilities and infrastructure at all sites, including $1 billion invested in the rebuild of historic LC-36, which is nearing completion.