Rocket Company That Plans Intentional Crash Wins Enormous NASA Contract

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Thomas Phippen Thomas Phippen is acting editor in chief at the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Blue Origin, founded by Amazon co-creator and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, received a huge opportunity from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA announced Wednesday a contract to give Blue Origin up to $45 million to complete suborbital research flights with their New Shepard rocket, which boasts reusable rocket engines. Days before receiving the NASA contract, Bezos announced plans to intentionally crash-land a crew capsule with a broken parachute, just to check its “ability to safely handle that failure scenario.”

The contract is part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, which pays companies to run research missions in earth’s sub-orbit. Under the program, Blue Origin will work with research firms directly to execute the research missions.

Blue Origin must compete against 5 other space tech companies for task assignments from NASA that will determine the role they will play in the coming missions. NASA’s goal for the program is to foster competition among the private firms,  in order to develop “new capabilities faster and, potentially, at lower cost,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMP). Private space companies like Blue Origin, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, LLC, have been in a technological space-race to make commercial space travel a reality.

Blue Origin made spaceflight history last November when their New Shepard rocket successfully returned to its landing platform, making it the first reusable rocket engine. SpaceX is also feverishly developing reusable rocket engine technology, and completed a landing a month after Blue Origin’s successful landing.

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