Blue Origin delays New Shepard and New Glenn


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Capitalism in space: Blue Origin announced yesterday that they are delaying the first manned test flights of their suborbital New Shepard spacecraft until next year.

The announcement also outlined their planned test launch schedule for their orbital New Glenn rocket, now set to launch for the first time in 2021, delayed from 2020 as previously announced.

I find it interesting that the same day the Air Force announces that it is giving this company a half billion dollars for development of this rocket, the company reveals that it is delaying the launch for one year. To my mind, the extra money should have helped them keep their schedule, instead of causing a delay.

What instead happens in Washington, however, is that the subsidized companies now stretch out their program in order to get more government money, focused more on that cash then on building anything. Witness for example Boeing and SLS.

What makes this strange is that Blue Origin already has plenty of capital, to the tune of about a billion per year, from Jeff Bezos. His investment should really be plenty for this company to do what it needs to do.

Share

2 comments

  • wodun

    It could be perverse incentives from the milestones they have to meet. When the milestone doesn’t have to be met until further out in the future, why meet it any sooner? The compensation doesn’t change and then there is a long gap between then and when they can get the next milestone payout.

    Even though Bezos can bankroll BO, it isn’t surprising they are going along to get along. A big part of their business plan is sinking tendrils into government and government contractors.

  • “Stay thirsty, my friend”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *