Enlarge / Nine main engines propel a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket off its launch pad earlier this year. (credit: SpaceX)

The US Space Force, long content with using just one or two contractors to carry the military’s most vital satellites into orbit, has announced it will seek a third provider for national security launch services in its next multibillion-dollar round of rocket procurement.

This is good news for Blue Origin, which has long sought to join the ranks of United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as the military’s preferred launch contractors. The Space Force has spent the last few months refining how it will purchase launch services for military satellites and National Reconnaissance Office spy payloads in the late 2020s and early 2030s.

Pardon the jargon

In February, the Space Force unveiled a “dual-lane” acquisition strategy that will include two tiers of space missions.

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