As one of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, Blue Origin doesn’t get as much attention as Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX. That’s partly by design; the secretive company tries to fly under the radar as much as possible.
The other reason is that while Blue Origin received $25.38 million in funding for its orbital vehicle during the first two phases of Commercial Crew, it was not selected for the third round. The company has been working with NASA on an unfunded Space Act Agreement under which the space agency is providing support but not any funding.
To date, Blue Origin has completed 19 of 20 milestones under the three agreements with NASA. There has been significant progress on the pressure vessel, engine and escape system. The table below shows the company’s milestones under the agreements.
Blue Origin Space Act Agreements Milestones
Award Period: 2010 – 2014
Milestones Completed: 19
Milestones Remaining: 1
Total Award: $25.38 million
|COMMERCIAL CREW DEVELOPMENT 1|
|A1||Project Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape system maturation plan.||March 2010||Complete||$835,000|
|A2||1-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 1-degree of freedom trust measurement stand.||July 2010||Complete||$835,000|
|A3||6-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 6-degree of freedom trust measurement stand.||October 2010||Complete||$835,000|
|A4||Rocket Sled Test. Conduct non-separating test of full CC OML and mass simulator on rocket sled track.||March 2011||Complete||$0|
|B1||Composite Pressure Vessel Maturation Kickoff Meeting.|
A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the implementation plan.
|B2||Test Article Composite Parts Received. Receive all parts necessary to complete assembly of one composite pressure vessel, closing supplier risk.||May 2010||Complete||$290,000|
|B3||Test Article Assembly Complete. Completion of the test article.||August 2010||Complete||$290,000|
|COMMERCIAL CREW DEVELOPMENT 2|
|1.1||Space Vehicle Kickoff Meeting. A meeting at Blue Origin headquarters in Kent, WA to brief NASA personnel on the project implementation plan.||May 2011||Complete||$905,000|
|1.2||Space Vehicle Mission Concept Review. A review of the Space Vehicle Mission Concept.||September 2011||Complete||$900,000|
|1.3||Space Vehicle Systems Requirements Review. A review of systems requirements for the Space Vehicle.||May 2012||Complete||$900,000|
|2.1||Pusher Escape Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape implementation plan.||May 2011||Complete||$2,000,000|
|2.2||Pusher Escape Vehicle #1 Shipment. Assembly of the first Pusher Escape Flight Test Vehicle is complete, except for installation of the pusher escape subsystem and separation mechanisms. Shipment to test range.||December 2011||Complete||$2,000,000|
|2.3||Pusher Escape Ground Firing. Conduct an intial ground test of the pusher escape rocket motor and thrust vector control system to be used during the flight test campaign.||January 2012||Complete||$3,000,000|
|2.6||Escape Pad Escape Test. Conduct a test of one of the fight test vehicles simulating an escape from a booster on the launch pad.||April 2012||Complete||$1,900,000|
|3.1||Engine Kickoff Meeting. Meeting to brief NASA personnel on engine risk reduction implementation plan.||May 2011||Complete||$3,400,000|
|3.2||Engine TCA and Test Plan Review. Meeting to review test article interface data, Interface Control Diagram (ICD) and test plan.||September 2011||Complete||$4,000,000|
|3.4||Engine TCA Test. Conduct pressure-fed test of the full-scale thrust chamber assembly (TCA).||May 2012||Complete||$3,000,000|
|UNFUNDED SPACE ACT AGREEMENT|
|3.6||BE-3 Engine Test. Conduct a test firing of the pump-fed engine simulating a sub-scale booster suborbital mission duty cycle (MDC).||September 2013||Complete||$0|
|3.7||Subscale Prop Tank Assembly Review. Conduct a review of the design, manufacture and assembly of a subscale booster propellant tank.||December 2013||Complete||$0|
|1.4||Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C.||March 2014||Pending||$0|