Blue Origin Lands $2.5M Pentagon Contract to Design Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft

23rd Apr 2021
Blue Origin

On 12th April, Blue Origin secured a Pentagon contract worth $2.5 million to design nuclear-powered spacecraft. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has also chosen Lockheed Martin and General Atomics within the same framework, awarding the companies $2.9 and $22.2m, respectively.

Blue Origin Part in Designing Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft on Pentagon Contract

DARPA is set to try out nuclear propulsion technology, meaning that a nuclear reactor will be used to heat the rocket up and propel it to space.  The technology is not standard, as most rockets today run on chemical or electrical tech. The agency believes that both systems have their disadvantages, while nuclear-powered spacecraft will be the kind of solution that combines chemical and electrical tech benefits. The chemical approach has the power, while electricity ensures efficiency.

In their official statement, DARPA said that they plan to test nuclear-powered spacecraft in 2025. According to DARCO project manager Maj Nathan Greiner, Blue Origin and other winning companies demonstrated their expertise in developing propulsion systems. The first DARCO phase will last a year and a half.

Mr. Greiner adds that Blue Origin will help DARPA design advanced spacecraft systems, so crucial for today’s technology era.

The latest Pentagon contract to design nuclear-powered spacecraft is not the first government deal for Blue Origin. In 2020, the company won three contracts from NASA, one of which implies launching government satellites with its New Glenn rocket. As a reminder, billionaire Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, and since then, the company has been set on revolutionizing the space industry and potentially colonising the solar system. Considering such ambitious plans, it is no wonder that the $2.5 million Pentagon contract to design nuclear-powered spacecraft has been awarded to Blue Origin.

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