NASA and Blue Origin partner to test new technologies in space

Blue Origin will fly technology payloads in space on its New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.

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Blue Origin, the private spaceflight company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, will work with NASA to transport new technologies near the boundary of space as part of the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. Blue Origin has a test facility located north of Van Horn, Texas.

Under this indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, Blue Origin will fly technology payloads in space on its New Shepard suborbital spacecraft.

“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.

Blue Origin will join the following firms currently under contract:

Masten Space Systems Inc., Mojave, Calif.
Near Space Corp., Tillamook, Ore.
UP Aerospace Inc., Littleton, Colo.
Virgin Galactic, New York
World View Enterprises, Tucson, Ariz.

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, Calif. STMD is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.