Blue Origin and U.S. Transportation Command have signed a cooperative research and development agreement to study the potential use of its commercial rockets in transporting cargo and personnel, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.
TRANSCOM, which is responsible for military logistics operations worldwide, also signed CRADAs with SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corp. or XArc in 2020 to work on the rocket cargo program, which will use simulations and modeling to assess the military use, cost and performance of rockets in transporting goods and conducting cargo airdrop operations.
The Air Force Research Laboratory leads the rocket cargo project with the U.S. Space Force.
“We want our understanding of space transportation’s potential to keep pace with the technical and operational realities that are being built now,” said Vice Adm. Dee Mewbourne, deputy commander of TRANSCOM.
Blue Origin currently operates a reusable New Shepard vehicle for space tourism and is working on New Glenn, a heavy-lift orbital rocket that will run on BE-4 engines and is projected to launch by late 2022.