The U.S Air Force has already made known its intention of picking up two companies that they will provide the opportunity to launch military satellites of critical nature in the upcoming decade. However, in order to make the competition more intense and the decision fairer, Blue Origins has asked the Air Force to hold their decision till 2021.
The Air Force doesn’t look too interested in listening to the request of Blue Origin though as they intend to entertain proposals by springtime this year and want to make the announcement of the launch service providers of choice by 2020. The announcements are lined up to take place almost a year prematurely as the new rockets being kept at Blue Origins, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance are ready to make their initial flight. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Centre already chose the 3 companies in October to divide the load of launching the next generation satellites with a net worth estimated around $2.3 billion, according to the Launch Service Agreement.
The three chosen ones and SpaceX have been asked to submit fresh proposals by 2019 for the future 25 launch contracts that are supposed to be executed in 2020. Air Force wants to solicit the proposals soon so that they can move to the Phase-2 of LSA which would enable the competitors of Blue Origin to present their bids in the next 60 days. However, Blue Origin feel that the Air Force is hurrying the whole process of selecting the two providers and it would provide an undue advantage to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, who are currently launching the needed satellites.
Blue Origins is in the middle of developing a heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn and the funding for the project is dependent on the agreement of the company with the Air Force to help them with $500 million in between 2019 and 2024. In case they do not end up with the deal, the funding will also be terminated. Therefore, it makes sense for Blue Origins to not be thrilled about the proposed timelines by the Air Force.