The Air Force will change how it selects its next launch providers following Blue Origin protest

The Air Force will change how it selects its next launch providers following Blue Origin protest

by  Loren Grush, The Verge

The final selections should come next year.

The Air Force is going to change the criteria for selecting its next round of rocket launch providers after one company competing for the gig protested the procurement process, Space News first reported. Private spaceflight company Blue Origin argued that the selection benchmarks were unfair — an argument that was upheld this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Currently, the Air Force is on the hunt for two companies to launch the US’s national security satellites from 2022 to 2026 as part of its Launch Service Procurement program. For rocket companies, being selected is a huge opportunity, as it could result in hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in launch contracts. The Air Force put out a call for proposals in May, and submissions were due by August 12th. Four companies are competing for the coveted positions: SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance, which already launch national security payloads as well as Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman.

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