The Defense Department picks three companies to develop rockets for national security launches

<em>A rendering of Blue Origin’s future New Glenn rocket, one of the three vehicles selected for the DOD’s Launch Service Agreement</em>

The US Air Force has awarded three aerospace companies with a combined $2 billion in contracts to develop rockets capable of sending national security satellites into orbit for the US government: the United Launch Alliance, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. However, SpaceX — a current launch provider for the Defense Department — was not on the list.

The awards are part of the DOD’s coveted Launch Service Agreement, or LSA. The goal of the program is to aid the development of commercial rockets and ensure that the US government has constant access to space for its national security payloads. The Defense Department says it will eventually select two of the awardees to be official launch providers…

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