NASA Contracts With Blue Origin For Suborbital Flight Services

Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle is seen here taking to the skies from the company’s West Texas launch site. Blue Origin is one of six companies that will integrate and fly technology payloads in support of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. Image Credit: Blue Origin

Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle is seen here taking to the skies from the company’s West Texas launch site. Blue Origin is one of six companies that will integrate and fly technology payloads in support of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. Image Credit: Blue Origin

June 2, 2016 – NASA has selected Blue Origin, LLC, in Van Horn, Texas, to integrate and fly technology payloads near the boundary of space on their New Shepard suborbital spacecraft in support of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

This is the sixth company selected for an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract under the Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle (sRLV) Flight and Payload Integration Services solicitation, which has a combined value not to exceed $45 million.

Starting June 1, the contract with Blue Origin will compete with the other program companies for task orders to deliver payload integration and flight services. All task orders must be initiated within the contract’s three-year performance period.

“We are pleased to have Blue Origin join our cadre of Flight Opportunities service providers,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington. “Adding additional flight providers enables NASA and the broader aerospace community to demonstrate and transition space technologies, developing new capabilities faster and, potentially, at lower cost.”

This contract is a continuation of contracts awarded in 2014 and 2015, providing commercial capabilities using proven flight systems. The contract allows for ramping on of new vendors and the addition of new flight profiles on at least an annual basis, as determined by the government’s requirements.

At the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Broomfield, Colorado, NanoRacks today announced a new product line for standardized hardware exclusively for Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle.

For each locker with NanoRacks interfaces, the NanoRacks-New Shepard Platform (NR-NSP) will support up to 12 2U payloads.

This follows a July 2015 announcement by NanoRacks to offer business development and payload integration services for the Blue Origin suborbital vehicle. The NanoRacks hardware will allow everyone – from primary school to commercial organizations to government agencies – to conduct research in suborbital space onboard the New Shepard vehicle.

Blue Origin will join the following firms currently under contract with NASA:

  • UP Aerospace, Inc., Littleton, Colorado
  • Masten Space Systems, Inc., Mojave, California
  • Near Space Corporation, Tillamook, Oregon
  • Virgin Galactic, LLC, New York
  • World View Enterprises, Inc., Tucson, Arizona
  • Through the Flight Opportunities Program, STMD selects promising technologies from industry, academia and government, and tests them on commercial launch vehicles. The Flight Opportunities Program is funded by STMD, and managed at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. STMD is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

    For more information about the Flight Opportunities Program, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/flight_opportunities/index.html