Blue Origin negotiating with India to use its rockets and capsule for Orbital Reef space station

According to the head of India’s space agency ISRO, he has been in discussions with Blue Origin about using different versions of that nation’s largest rocket (dubbed LVM-3 or GSLV-Mk3 depending on configuration) and its manned capsule (still under development) for eventually ferrying crew and cargo to Blue Origin’s proposed Orbital Reef space station.

Somanath said: “We are exploring … In fact, we’ve already discussed it with Blue Origin and they are very keen to consider this option of LVM-3 becoming a crew capsule mission to service the Orbital Reef. It is a possibility and we are engaging through IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre).”

On the challenge of integrating a docking system that is compatible, he said standard docking systems are in the public domain. “…Whoever can design a docking system that matches with the US design and standard, can be used. However, we will still need to have agreements with agencies to try it out given that there are multiple interfaces — electrical, mechanical and so on. It is not just one document, we will need to work with them to develop it. We will do that.

It appears Somanath has also had discussions with NASA about also providing the same service to ISS.

An Orbital Reef deal however suggests something very disturbing about Blue Origin. The plan had been to use Blue Origin’s New Glenn orbital rocket (also still under development but years behind schedule) to launch crew and cargo capsules to the station. That in fact is supposed to be Blue Origin’s main technical contribution to the station. Why would the company then look to India for such capability, unless it recognizes that there are more problems with New Glenn that it has not revealed?

It is also possible that Jeff Bezos is simply expressing his leftwing globalist agenda with these negotiations. Or it could mean some combination of both. This situation bears watching.

India is targeting ’21 for first unmanned test launch of manned system

The new colonial movement: According to Indian government officials, the first unmanned test flight of their Gaganyaan manned capsule will occur before the end of 2021.

The first unmanned launch is slated for December 2021. The Gaganyaan is a crewed orbital spacecraft expected to carry three astronauts into space for at least seven days. The spacecraft is likely to consist of an orbital module which will have a service and a crew module. The mission is estimated to cost around Rs 10,000 crore. The GSLV Mk-III, now called LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3), will be deployed for the launch.

The new name for the rocket helps distinguish it from the GSLV Mk-II, a smaller version aimed mostly at commercial customers.

India also hopes to launch a new smallsat rocket in ’21, as well as its next lunar lander/rover, Chandrayaan-3. The country’s space effort will also be attempting to recover from its shutdown in 2020 due to the Wuhan virus panic.