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Bezos' Company Blue Origin Chosen To Build NASA's Rocket

AP Photo/Blue Origin
FILE - This photo released by Blue Origin shows the development vehicle Goddard being moved back into the barn in remote Culberson County in West Texas, after a test flight on Nov. 13, 2006.

The U.S. has been wanting to ferry astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station, but for now, American astronauts rely on Russia to get to space. That’s about to change, now that Boeing and Blue Origin, another Northwest company, are on board to build the rocket.

To get to the ISS, American astronauts only fly aboard Russian capsules. Even the engines that power U.S. rockets are made in Russia. With rising tensions between the two countries, NASA was positively giddy in announcing Boeing as the contract winner to design a new commercial spacecraft.  

And now it appears the Northwest’s contribution is growing. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and his company, Blue Origin, are now set to build the engine to launch the rocket, known as Atlas V.

“There’s a lot of time for Blue Origin to prove itself,” said analyst Marco Caceres with the Teal Group. “At least for the short term, it does serve Boeing’s purpose to have a company with an engine that looks like it has some potential, and because at the very least they’re able to say, ‘We’re going to work to make the Atlas V not dependent on the Russian engine.”’

But as Caceres notes, we’re still a ways away from the 2017 liftoff. The spacecraft will go through a stringent certification process and eventually make up to six missions in space. Blue Origin is a competitor of California-based SpaceX, the other company NASA chose to build the space station capsules.