Could Blue Origin Expand Into The UK?

7th Jul 2023
Could Blue Origin Expand Into The UK?

Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, is seeking to expand into global markets. A UK expansion could be on the cards in coming years. CEO Bob Smith confirmed earlier this week that the company are in the early stages of looking at potential launch sites outside the United States. 

A report from the Financial Times also indicated that Blue Origin is actively searching for acquisitions and partnerships in Europe and beyond to further expand its space and launch services companies. 

Europe could be the perfect place for Blue Origin growth

Due to the retirement of the Ariane 5 rocket, Europe is facing constricted launch availability. There are now only two rockets available for launch from Europe; the Vega-C and the Ariane 6, the latter of which is yet to fly. The implosion of Virgin Orbit earlier in the year has only made the picture more bleak. 

Of course, there are a number of launch startups in Europe trying to fill this gap, from Orbex to Isar Aerospace. However, they haven’t flown a rocket yet. Europe also has a qualified workforce, which would be a major short-term advantage for the company. 

Eyeing up fresh competition

There’s no denying that it has been difficult for Blue Origin, as they’ve struggled to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Rocket Lab. While those powerhouses have developed dependable rockets that can carry satellites and other payload into orbit, the success of Blue Origin has predominantly been in the suborbital domain. 

The company’s New Shepard rocket flies to suborbital space. To date, it’s carried out 22 successful missions, which includes six crewed missions, carrying 31 tourists to space. 

Unfortunately, New Shepard has been grounded since September 2022 because of an in-flight anomaly. Until regulators give Blue Origin the green-light for launch, it will remain that way. 

The company does have intentions to go to orbit nevertheless. Blue Origin is developing New Glenn, a heavy-lift, fully reusable, orbital rocket. However, like many plans in the aerospace domain, the program has faced numerous delays.

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